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brendaks1 08-31-2008 08:14 AM

Post-surgery massive hematoma, infection, and 2nd surgery
Leave it to me to have this kind of luck!

On August 12 I had L4-L5 decompression/laminectomy/discectomy surgery. About 8 days after surgery, the lower part of my incision started having some bright red/clear drainage. It got worse in the next couple of days and I called my doctorís office. The nurse said to put a compression dressing on and if it didnít stop after a couple more days to call back or if it got much worse to contact the on-call doctor. Well, the next morning (last Saturday) I woke up and the compression dressing was completely soaked through with a nasty brownish-yellowing drainage (sorry to gross you out!). I called the on-call doctor, and he said to go to my local urgent care center (I live 3 hours from my spine surgeon). The urgent care doctor took a culture of the drainage, spoke with the on-call spine doctor, and they put me on an antibiotic with instructions to contact my surgeon Monday morning. I wasnít running a fever and didnít feel sick at all. The incision drainage continued to soak through bandages over the weekend, and when I called my surgeonís office on Monday they got me an afternoon appointment, so we were off on a 3 hour drive to see him.

My spine surgeon looked at the draining incision, and recommended another surgery to open the incision and clean everything out. I was admitted to the hospital immediately and they did an MRI that showed a massive (6 inch x 8 inch) fluid pocket deep inside near my first surgery. It turned out that it was a hematoma (blood clot) from me bleeding internally after my first surgery. On top of that, the drainage culture the doctor in the urgent care took a couple of days prior showed an infection with a really nasty bacteria called Klebsiella. They called in an infectious disease specialist doctor to deal with the infection.

Tuesday morning they did another surgery to clean everything out and they did a deep tissue culture to find out if the bacteria had spread very deep, but fortunately the culture never grew anything. I was put on an antibiotic called Cipro for two weeks to deal with the infection, and I stayed in the hospital until this last Friday. This time I have external stitches instead of steristrips. The last couple of days I have been sleeping about 12 hours per day.

What an experience!

They determined that I bled internally after my first surgery which turned into a hematoma. The body will break down internal hematomas after a while and during the process it will turn into a liquid which is when I started draining. Once this opened up my incision to drain out, they said bacteria can also get in, so thatís when the Klebsiella got in but they donít think it had yet gotten in very far.

For all of you that are awaiting surgery, please donít be scared by this Ė this is a very rare complication and highly unlikely that it would happen to you.

mznell 08-31-2008 10:27 AM

Re: Post-surgery massive hematoma, infection, and 2nd surgery
Oh my, you have been through the wringer. It sounds like you got sound advice though and it is great they called in the infectious disease doc. Sounds like they have done everything they can to minimize the damage and get you back on the road to healing.

Be sure to take it really easy now and rest as much as you can...and then walk when you get up to use the bathroom. It is very important to give your body a chance to catch up.

Sorry this happened to you. At least you can rest easier knowing you were treated effectively and urgently.

xx M:wave:M

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