So, they never officially confirmed if the problem 9 years ago was from gallstones?
After the gallbladder is removed, a doctor usually cuts it and checks if there is any stone in it, so if it were, you would probably know.
When you have gallstones in the gallbladder you can have additional ones in the ducts. Theoretically, it is possible that a surgeon removes the gallbladder with stones, but some stone remains hidden in the ducts. Ultrasound should detect this. At next ultrasound, you can ask a doctor if any gallstones are mentioned in your medical documentation.
If they find a gallstone in a common bile duct, they can remove it by a type of upper endoscopy called ERCP.
Another quite common cause of the gallbladder-like pain after gallbladder removal is biliary dyskinesia, or more specifically sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD), which can be due to a spasm of the muscular sphincter at the end of the common bile duct (where it opens into the duodenum). The exact cause is not known, but may be partly psychosomatic or related to certain foods (a bit like in IBS). The pain in SOD appears in the upper right abdominal quadrant (usually just at the bottom of the rib cage), builds up to a steady level and then remains constant and lasts at least 30 minutes.
It is also possible that the original problem may not be associated with the bile ducts but with the pancreas. Pancreas can produce pancreatic stones, which can block the pancreatic duct and cause pancreatitis. These stones can be also removed by ERCP.