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Why does my shoulder hurt after surgery?

Shoulder pain following surgery is usually “referred” pain, or pain that originates in a different part of the body. Shoulder or neck pain often comes from irritation of the diaphragm. The nerve carrying sensation from the diaphragm shares a common root (C4) with the nerve that carries sensation from the shoulder. Therefore, pain that starts at the diaphragm may be felt as shoulder pain.

Irritation of the diaphragm may come from the carbon dioxide gas used during surgery, sutures to repair a Hiatal Hernia, or the Adjustable Gastric Band itself. Referred shoulder pain usually resolves within two to three days following surgery. If it lasts longer or you have questions, please call!