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Surgical clips in body

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I had gallblader surgery (laproscopic) four years ago. This is the only surgery I have every had. I had my first chest x-ray two weeks ago and the doctor mentioned that I had a couple of surgical clips showing up in my left chest area.

My doctor did not mention anything to me about any surgical clips being left in my bocy. These clips have migrated north in my body and I am very concerned. What potential problems can I anticipate? What steps do I need to take to proceed to have these removed? Why would these clips be left in my body?

Thank you!
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First Helper Lauren70
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replied October 7th, 2008
Community Volunteer
You need to go back to the surgeon that did your surgery and ask these questions. Etiehr they needed to say or should have been removed.

If you are told that they needed to stay, ask specific reasons as to why and take it from there. If they were left in by mistake, gather all your documentation (M/R, x-ray's, etc) and consult with an attorney.

~Zig
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replied September 3rd, 2009
It is ROUTINE to have surgical clips left behind after surgeries, especially a cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder). This is intentional and is part of the procedure. These are harmless and should not worry you. I hope ths helps.
-SJM
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replied December 11th, 2009
surgical clips left behind after total thyroidectomy
how can you say its ROUTINE to leave these behind?? for what reason??
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replied July 26th, 2012
surgical clips left in abdomen
I too have had a laproscopic removal of my gallbladder and recently had an xray of my abdomen and it shows two surgical clips on the right side of my body. It now makes sense to me! I have had pain on the right side of my back since that surgery and I thought it was a disc problem. I have always told the doctors that it was a pain in one area and the pain was like a catch in my back and sometimes it would just disappear? Then the "catch" would come back. I cannot even lay on my left side of my body. If I do, it seems like something is catching on the right side or moving and hurting me. How do I get a doctor to understand this or take me serious about these clips. I am almost 100% certain that the clips are what has been causing me pain all this time! I also have right side numbness that cannot be explained. The numbness happens when I am standing on my feet and runs from my thigh to my knee. I bet the two clips have something to do with that also. PLEASE HELP!!!! Who do I see about this? The surgeon that did my gallbladder surgery 10 years ago is retired. Thank you!
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replied July 27th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
It is doubtful that the surgical clips are causing your problems. But, if you are concerned, contact a general surgeon for an evaluation.

Numbness comes from a problem with the peripheral nerves. Your clips, from a cholecystectomy, are nowhere close to the peripheral nerves that innervate the region of the thigh.

Numbness from the hip to the knee, in the anterior aspect of the thigh (front) is usually coming from a problem with the nerve roots in the lumbar spine or from compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

If the numbness is more posterior (back), then it is usually coming from compression of the sciatic nerve or problems with the nerve roots again.


But, since this is obviously bothering you, you should see a physician for a thorough evaluation. The clips are easy to blame, since you can see them on x-ray, but are rarely, if ever, to blame.

But, do contact your physician. That way all of your questions can be answered.

Good luck.
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replied November 26th, 2012
Go See a surgeon! I had mono for 4 years - also known as Epstein Barr Syndrome. Nobody could tell me why. I also happened to have a horrible case of IBS which just got worse after I had my gall bladder removed 6 years ago. Sometimes the diarrhea would be up to 15 times a day. I just could not get enough nutrition from the food to build my immune system and get rid of the mono. For the last couple of years, I also had a horrible pain on my right side - I went to several doctors and ER clinics over the years thinking it was my appendix. Nothing ever showed up on X-ray or ultrasound. Finally, my family doctor sent me to a surgeon suggesting exploratory surgery for adhesions. It was scary and I did not have a lot of family support on it. But it was the best decision of my life! One of the clamps my surgeon left behind from my gall bladder removal had come lose and penetrated my colon. No one could explain why it didn't show up on tests. I also did have scar tissue that had grown over the area, attaching my colon to my ovary. All was removed and I am pain free and mono free since July of 2012 when I had my surgery. My surgeon made sure to get pictures of the clip and the area it had penetrated. Make sure yours is equipped to do the same.
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replied July 26th, 2012
Surgical Clips
I had 24 surgical clips left in my neck after total thyroidectomy (thyroid cancer) and did not realize until I had a bone scan done years later. Is this normal? Are they harmful? When I called the dr. that operated on me the nurse told me they are harmless and it is routine.
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replied July 26th, 2012
Surgical Clips
I had 24 surgical clips left in my neck after total thyroidectomy (thyroid cancer) and did not realize until I had a bone scan done years later. Is this normal? Are they harmful? When I called the dr. that operated on me the nurse told me they are harmless and it is routine.
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replied July 27th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
It is routine to use surgical clips. It is a way of controlling bleeding within a surgical site. Other ways to control bleeding include tying off vessels and the use of cautery.

But, if the vessels are small (where tying is impractical) or in an area where cautery is not advised (around nerves), clips are often used. With the increase in the use of laparoscopy, surgical clips are also being used a lot more. However, surgical clips have been used for a very long time. They have made the control of bleeding much easier and faster. This has made surgery much safer overall.

They are very commonly used in head and neck surgery, because of all of the delicate tissues in the area, that do not respond to cautery very well. And since the vessels are usually quite small, tying off the vessels is also impractical. Decades ago, before the routine use of surgical clips, surgery was often many hours long, with significant loss of blood. Again, their use has made surgery faster and safer.

Many years ago, surgical clips did contain lead, but these were discontinued decades ago. Currently, they are usually made of titanium, and thus, are safe with the use of an MRI. The MRI only affects ferrous materials.

In some cases, where clips do not need to be permanent, they are now also being made of bioabsorbable materials (such as polyglycolic acid).

Staples used in the closure of the skin are usually made of stainless steel. But, these are removed once the skin has started to heal, just like sutures would be.


So, the use of surgical clips is routine. They are not mentioned in operative reports, just as tying of vessels, or the use of cautery, is not routinely mentioned in operative reports. It is just part of doing the surgical procedure.



However, if you are concerned about them, discuss it with your surgeon or primary care physician.


Good luck.
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replied August 17th, 2013
reguarding clips
I have clips left in after having uterine cancer having a radical hysterectomy, and it is all good. no need to worry. they need to leave them in there. try to think positive be glad the surgery went well and you are better. I am grateful that I survived the cancer, grateful that my surgeon did and excellent job. Try to be calm and if you are truly worried talk to your surgeon
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replied November 3rd, 2013
I had my right kidney removed 4 years ago , I had several test done afterwards. I had a chest x-ray the report said there are surgical clips within the abdomen. Is this normal. Would a ultralsould show this. Thank you
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replied April 2nd, 2014
ARE YOU A DOCTOR?
Gaelic You Have Not Answered The Main Questions Should A Doctor Leave Surgical Clips
In A Person's Body Period? And If So Should The Doctor Tell The Patient If They Are Left In A Person's Body?
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