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Post-op complications, ulnar nerve compression, surgeon doesn't know, help please!

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Old 05-16-2008, 11:54 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 65
jaderiver HB User
Post-op complications, ulnar nerve compression, surgeon doesn't know, help please!

Here is some background. Sorry this is so long..

I had surgery for ulnar nerve compression, left elbow, on May 1st. This is my third surgery for this problem. First surgery- decompression. Second surgery- medial epicondylectomy ( I think the small bone in this area was removed or shaved down?) and third surgery decompression.

My other surgeon retired so I am going to a plastic surgeon (not a hand surgeon) that is new graduate, 11 months experience. I've gone through two surgeries with this new surgeon.

The surgeon used dissolvable stitches.

The surgeon discovered that the nerve close to the funny bone area was curled or kinked, lot's of scar tissue. I'm not sure exactly what was done but from what I understand decompression.

Since surgery I've experienced many problems with excessive swelling. The swelling wasn't disappearing even though I raised my arm, iced the area etc. After 5 days it became bad along with pain and fingers were tingling. I headed to the ER. They figured the surgery dressing was on way too tight, there was some bleeding, and they reapplied another lighter bandage.

I did see the surgeon a few days later for my first follow up and she heard what happened and said similar. The nurse took off the bandages I noticed around the funny bone area, part of the incision area was bumpy or raised and a small gap that was bleeding. I figured maybe this was normal, nothing to worry about. They reapplied a small gauze pad over the incision.

By the next day my swelling was increasing again. I raised it up on pillows, iced the area. This went on for another four days. My arm, hand, fingers were purple-pink color. Fingers were tingling.

I had an appt with my family doctor for something else and he saw my arm and took off the dressing. It was full of blood. The incision was bleeding in about four spots. They looked like small gaps, sores. The rest of the incision was reddish looking but he didn't think it was an infection, almost bloody thin line along the incision. He cleaned it and applied another dressing. Family doctor said he had no idea but he would contact the surgeons office to get me in sooner.

The swelling is about double the size of my normal hand.

So today I saw the surgeon. She seemed quite angry that I was wearing a dressing and asked me why. I explained to her the above and was told she never heard directly from my doctor. She took off the dressing, it was bloody and still oozing. She said I don't understand this! You had surgery two weeks ago. I used dissolvable stitches. I've never seen this or had this happen with a patient before.

She asked if I had been bending my arm too high etc. I told her no that I followed your directions and only bend it slightly. I'm careful with it.

Basically I was told "I don't know and I'm not worried." And then next I was told to phone if I have bleeding and swelling.

Is it possible for excessive swelling to disrupt the incision or cause problems that I am experiencing? Or possibly something else? My hand, fingers and elbow are still swollen.

I did have the small gap in the incision near the funny bone area 5 days after surgery that was bleeding at the time. Since then four more areas have opened up along the incision line.

Has anyone experienced this before???

It will take 8 months to one year to get an appointment if I want a second opinion with another surgeon.

Last edited by jaderiver; 05-16-2008 at 11:55 AM.

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