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Old 04-24-2013, 05:35 PM   #1
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Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Hi Everyone,

So glad that I found this message board. I have suffered from discomfort and pain on and off from my Thoracotomy Surgery (left lung) for the past 22 years. The reason for the sugery was for a collasped lung that would not re-inflate. I had the surgery in 1991. I was told years ago that I could have a "nerve block" done but decided against that option because the discomfort was not that severe then.

Just recently, I have been getting a "crawling sensation" in the back from my shoulder blade to the bottom of my rib cage. I also have had sharp stabbing pains in different areas of the lung (the left lung).

My question here is this. Has anyone else had this problem years after their surgery?

I have a CT Scan and PFT scheduled for Friday. I have had several x-rays done and they showed nothing. Hopefully, the CT Scan will show something because I know that there is something causing all of this.

 
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:14 PM   #2
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Hi...I had thoracotomy done in 1975, and I still have numbness around certain areas of my incision and on occasion sharp pains like air bubbles in the top and sometimes bottom area.

From the rib disconnection/reconnection I have areas that seem to "grind" when I breathe in deeply and most times I can feel a bit of sharp pain that comes as the ribs expand. And most recently (probably because of aging and postural changes) there's sometimes a constant ache along that area if I've done too much.

Have you been doing anything more strenuous, weights, lifting, exercise..etc?

I'm curious if you've recently been through a bad cold/flu...where you've had lots of coughing?

Are you left handed or right? sometimes that might have impact on what muscles you use.

Have you tried acupuncture or massage to see if that can help?

Did you have stitching done of the blebs? or did you have a mesh? I'm wondering if you might have some scarring or adhesion that might be causing some of the pain.

How old were you when you had the surgery? I was 21.

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Old 04-28-2013, 04:03 AM   #3
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Quote:
Originally Posted by quincy View Post
Hi...I had thoracotomy done in 1975, and I still have numbness around certain areas of my incision and on occasion sharp pains like air bubbles in the top and sometimes bottom area.

From the rib disconnection/reconnection I have areas that seem to "grind" when I breathe in deeply and most times I can feel a bit of sharp pain that comes as the ribs expand. And most recently (probably because of aging and postural changes) there's sometimes a constant ache along that area if I've done too much.

Have you been doing anything more strenuous, weights, lifting, exercise..etc?

I'm curious if you've recently been through a bad cold/flu...where you've had lots of coughing?

Are you left handed or right? sometimes that might have impact on what muscles you use.

Have you tried acupuncture or massage to see if that can help?

Did you have stitching done of the blebs? or did you have a mesh? I'm wondering if you might have some scarring or adhesion that might be causing some of the pain.

How old were you when you had the surgery? I was 21.

q

Hi,

I was 30 when my left lung collasped and had the surgery. The past 2 years I have been exercising using those resistent bands but have been very careful not to do exercises that put too much pressure on the the left side.

I am left handed but use my right hand a bit more for things. My right side is much stronger than the left too.

When my surgery was done I do know that they used a stapler inside my chest (for what I do not know). I just am hoping that something has not come loose which is what I am wondering may have happened.

I have not had a cold or flu in over 25 years. I never cough. I am 52 now and I live a very healthy lifestyle and have cut out all dairy, wheat, red meat and sugar. I have noticed that when the weather changes I do have a much harder time with breathing and that side will ache and pain. It's especially bad if my nose is stopped up on the left. However, when the weather is hot and dry I feel so much better.

All of this comes and goes and is by no means constant. There are days when I feel really great and would love to feel that way all the time again.

I have not tried acupuncture yet but have been thinking about giving it a try if the Pulmonary Specialist doesn't have any answers for me.

Thanks so much for talking to me.

 
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Hi...after a thoracotomy, your lung won't collapse again (unless it was totally botched I guess).

You sound in excellent shape with no other health issues...so that's a good thing. I'm envious!

In addition to having the visible blebs stapled/sewn, pleurodesis will be done (abrasion process which I read can be the pleural lining being stripped and the inner lining abraded) (either mechanical or chemical). The lung then heals to the chest wall becoming "one".

I'm going to do further reading to see if I can find any information as to future issues....for myself as well.

I think for you...pushing for an MRI might be a good thing..to get a better inside view of what's happening.
The pulminologist will hopefully put you through breathing testing, blood testing, etc to make sure your lung capacity is good and that you don't have anything else.

Possibly during the difficult weather times, maybe using a sinus rinse will help. I use NeilMed (the one that has to be mixed with water)...it's great. The doc might also give you a nasal inhaled steroid that could help during that time as well.

I have asthma, so I'm on a steroid inhaler daily. I used to use nasal steroid, but bleeding/more stuffiness happened after my doc switched me to Nasonex. So I just quit using them.


to be continued,
q
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Last edited by quincy; 04-29-2013 at 12:51 PM.

 
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Quote:
Originally Posted by quincy View Post
Hi...after a thoracotomy, your lung won't collapse again (unless it was totally botched I guess).

You sound in excellent shape with no other health issues...so that's a good thing. I'm envious!

In addition to having the visible blebs stapled/sewn, pleurodesis will be done (abrasion process which I read can be the pleural lining being stripped and the inner lining abraded) (either mechanical or chemical). The lung then heals to the chest wall becoming "one".

I'm going to do further reading to see if I can find any information as to future issues....for myself as well.

I think for you...pushing for an MRI might be a good thing..to get a better inside view of what's happening.
The pulminologist will hopefully put you through breathing testing, blood testing, etc to make sure your lung capacity is good and that you don't have anything else.

Possibly during the difficult weather times, maybe using a sinus rinse will help. I use NeilMed (the one that has to be mixed with water)...it's great. The doc might also give you a nasal inhaled steroid that could help during that time as well.

I have asthma, so I'm on a steroid inhaler daily. I used to use nasal steroid, but bleeding/more stuffiness happened after my doc switched me to Nasonex. So I just quit using them.


to be continued,
q
Hi Again,

Thanks, I try to stay as healthy as I can. I just turned 52 in March so staying healthy now will hopefully help me out later on.

Anyway, yes I was told that my left lung would never collaspe again so they did do something to adhear it to the chest wall. On my itemized bill they had a stapler on there so I don't know if they stapled it or did something else.

I agree with the MRI. I will wait to see what the Doc has to say about the CT Scan results. I did do the PFT test and the technician told me that everything looked really good when I left so I think that I did fine with that.

About 10 days ago I blew my nose and I had the worse pain that I have ever had with that lung. I felt like I could have passed out, the pain was that severe. Let me see if I can explain what it felt like. It was like all the air was completely gone from my lung - I swear I could feel it de-flate and what seemed like forever, but was only about 20 seconds, the air seemed to go back in and the pain subsided. I have had strange pains there before but that was a first.

What is most annoying, is that crawling feeling in my back between the shoulder blade and down to my hip. Sometimes it even feels very tight, like a rubber band is being stretched all the way out.

I do use a saline nasal spray and it does help but my god send are the Ridgecrest Herbals Clear Lungs. Lately I have had to take 2 capsules every 4 hours. I really do not want to start taking any drugs so whatever I can do naturally, I will do. I also do not have insurance so I have to pay for what I can afford to have done when I have the money. That actually works out really good for me because you would not believe the huge discount they give you for paying cash. My CT Scan and PFT tests were discounted 35% so I ended up paying only $1,400.00 (which is still a lot of money).

I have been trying to find out all I can too online. I am looking for people who have had issues years after like we have had. I guess you just don't ever get rid of the pain and discomfort since it is the worst surgery one can have (other than open heart surgery).

I look forward to hearing from you again. Take care.

Clay

 
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:32 PM   #6
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Hi Clay....it's certainly disconcerting to have continuing pains/discomfort, especially from reasons that might be related to the surgery.

If all your x-rays have come back clear, at least it's not something directly related to an infection or something such as that.

To me, an MRI could be more telling if something's outside of the lung, but it wouldn't show if it's muscular/nerve related (I don't think). But that could be a last resort if other tests or eliminations don't show anything.


Regarding the herbs...they're still drugs, and it could be that you might have a sensitivity to something in there. My first guess would be to not take them for a few days and see if some of your discomfort stops.

Why again are you taking more? because of trouble breathing? could be allergy to one of the herbs...I'd tread more lightly on that because it might be masking an issue or creating another one.

Try the nasal wash such as I use...better than a saline spray.

Have you had allergy testing done? That might be a better next step.

Have you tried something such as a pain relief med (Tylenol with methocarbamol) such as robaxacet? If that relieves some of the discomfort, it could be muscular related (outside of the internal surgery).

In the area where you live or in your house...do you have anything new recently that could have caused you more discomfort, especially with your breathing? New mattress, pillows, renovations, etc?

Another question/suggestion...have you seen a chiropractor?

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Old 05-02-2013, 03:55 AM   #7
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

Hi,

Thanks I will keep it all in mind. I will just take it one day at a time and see what I find out and take it from there.

Have a good one!

 
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:15 AM   #8
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Re: Pain from Thoracotomy Surgery 22 years later

just wanted to add if you've been checked for reflux? that can cause some breathing problems...or mimic them.

Hope you do get relief.
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