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    Old 05-15-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
    Surgery042909
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    Incision Healing

    Hi!

    I was wondering if somebody could share with me how long it took you for the incision area to heal.

    I had an ACDF C45,56-67 with hardware on 04/29/09. The area around the incision is still swollen and painful to touch. I could handle that but part of the swelling is right in the middle over my esophagus so I feel like I have a constant lump in my throat. I would really love to know how long before that goes away? (I am on antibiotic)

    I am interested to know what the experience of others was.

     
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    Old 05-15-2009, 11:05 PM   #2
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    Re: Incision Healing

    I think any surgical incision I have ever had healed about 2-3 weeks. You might have an internal stitch that hasn't disolved or a remenant of infection. Has the doctor looked at it? Is is red and is it oozing any?

     
    Old 05-16-2009, 05:48 AM   #3
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    Re: Incision Healing

    My ACDF incision took about 4 weeks to really feel normal.

     
    Old 05-16-2009, 08:43 PM   #4
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Although mine was red for a while (maybe 2-3 weeks) I never had any incision swelling or any lump in the throat feeling.
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    Old 05-17-2009, 12:27 PM   #5
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Mine really didn't take a long time, and wasn't particularly painful after 2 weeks when the stitch came out. I didn't have any swelling except when they pulled the surgical tape off, but that went away in a couple hours. My surgeon had me roll the incision site in my fingers to work out the scar tissue and help it heal flat, but this didn't really hurt as much as just feel gross. I didn't have any redness after about 1 1/2 weeks. If it is painful and red in the skin, you should definitely get it checked for infection. I know you said you are on antibiotics, but not all bacteria are sensitive to all antibiotics, so you may need a different one. Good luck, I hope you continue to heal well.

     
    Old 05-17-2009, 03:19 PM   #6
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    Re: Incision Healing

    I understand exactly what you are feeling. I had ACDF C5-C7 on April 10th. I have searched all over for information about that swollen lump feeling when you swallow. I am 19 days ahead of you and my incision site is still just slightly tender, however, mine too is still swollen (although it is improving.) It does feel like the swelling is pushing back on the trachea and I wonder if that makes the esophagus push back against the plate put on the front of the spinal column. That's kind of what it feels like. Do you feel like something gets stuck sometimes? To me it seems that the esophagus gets hung up on the top edge of the plate. All of this may not even be physiologically possible, I don't know, but that is what it feels like to me. I have also noticed that air often feels like it gets trapped coming back up and I almost have to push it up to get past the swelling. How about you? Does that sound like what you are experiencing?

     
    Old 05-17-2009, 04:26 PM   #7
    Surgery042909
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    Re: Incision Healing

    I don't feel like it gets hung up anywhere but that it is being pushed on from the front. The swelling is getting better so the feeling is geting better but there is a hard spot (getting smaller) that does press back on the trachea.

    I don't know if your thought of it getting caught on the plate is possible or not but it may be. Prior to surgery I was having some trouble; a feeling like a lump was in my throat. The doctors told me I had to relax and it was anxiety. After surgry my surgeon told me a bone spur had developed that was pushing on my trachea which he removed, actually had to remove to place the plate properly so your thoughts are plausible at least.

     
    Old 05-17-2009, 04:34 PM   #8
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Toonces1 View Post
    Mine really didn't take a long time, and wasn't particularly painful after 2 weeks when the stitch came out. I didn't have any swelling except when they pulled the surgical tape off, but that went away in a couple hours. My surgeon had me roll the incision site in my fingers to work out the scar tissue and help it heal flat, but this didn't really hurt as much as just feel gross. I didn't have any redness after about 1 1/2 weeks. If it is painful and red in the skin, you should definitely get it checked for infection. I know you said you are on antibiotics, but not all bacteria are sensitive to all antibiotics, so you may need a different one. Good luck, I hope you continue to heal well.
    My surgeon also has me gently rubbing the incision to work out scar tissue. I just have this spot which is particularly painful to touch. The surgeon said I had a hematoma that would take up to a month to dissapate. My stitchers do not have to be removed since they used the dissolvable kind. The GP put me on Levaquin and the surgeons office approved its usuage. Evidently it is a good general antibiotic. Headaches are gone, ear pain is gone, swelling down considerably (at least 2/3's) if this spot left would go, I'd be doing really well.

    I go back to work tomorrow. Hope I can deal with a whole day of activity and no rest points!

     
    Old 05-17-2009, 04:35 PM   #9
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Hopefully it helped hearing that at least someone else had the same thing going on. There are a lot of posts about the swallowing problems after surgery, but not alot when one is five or six weeks out. Hopefully, we'll both just keep on improving and it's just that our bodies take a little longer than most to decrease the swelling.

    Do you consider your surgery a successs? How's your pain level? I hope other than the swallowing that you are doing great!

     
    Old 05-17-2009, 04:42 PM   #10
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stonepile View Post
    Hopefully it helped hearing that at least someone else had the same thing going on. There are a lot of posts about the swallowing problems after surgery, but not alot when one is five or six weeks out. Hopefully, we'll both just keep on improving and it's just that our bodies take a little longer than most to decrease the swelling.

    Do you consider your surgery a successs? How's your pain level? I hope other than the swallowing that you are doing great!
    Oh my surgery is most definitely a success. Other then the incision pain/tenderness/swelling I have had no problems. All my pre-op pain was gone when I woke up. I had not realized quite how much loss of sensation I had in my left hand until it was all back. I had told the surgeon my handwriting had not changed prior to surgery because I did not realize it had until I began writing again after surgery. Things I did not even realize were wrong were gone along with all the chest pain, left arm pain, lower back and leg problems and loss of strenght. It was really amazing. I have not been on any pain meds since 5 days post op. What I am dealing with now is far less then I dealt with before. I just wish I could have my Naproxen and motrin. It is all I ever took pre-op and now can't have it.

    I will never regret having the surgery. I am 45 and will be able to do the things I want again as long as I am patient and follow the rules for the next few months. It is frustrating having to ask others for help with the lifting and such but I guess I will swollow my pride for a little bit.

    Last edited by Surgery042909; 05-17-2009 at 04:44 PM.

     
    Old 05-17-2009, 08:13 PM   #11
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    Re: Incision Healing

    We have so much in common it's amazing. My recovery was the same. All my pain, numbness, and muscle spasms were gone when I woke up after surgery. One thing I've noticed after surgery that I'm happy about is that I thought I had a rotator cuff injury prior to surgery. I'd been unable to sleep on my side with my arm above my head for several years. After surgery the pain in my shoulder is gone! I wasn't expecting that at all.

    I quit taking my pain meds three days after returning home from the hospital. One of the things that really breaks my heart when I read many of these posts is how much some still suffer with so much pain even after so many surgeries. I wish that I could somehow help! I truly appreciate those that are such good encouragers and offer great support. I think they are truly angels.

    Oh, one other thing we have in common is how close we are in age. I am 49 for about 49 more min.

    Thanks for sharing! I'm happy to hear that you are doing so well. If you don't mind and are able maybe you could keep me informed on how the swelling in your throat continues to go. Best wishes for a most speedy recovery.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 05:53 AM   #12
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    Re: Incision Healing

    I'm 2 1/2 months post op and I still have a scab over the incision and it is very red. I get a funny feeling if I turn my head the wrong way or if I lay in certain positions on the pillow. I never had any pain at the incision. I just have the severe pain at the back of my neck, which surgery did not help at all.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 12:02 PM   #13
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Nicole, was your surgery an anterior approach? Did your doctor have you clean your incision with hydrogen peroxide every day? That's what mine did. Maybe you used something else besides hydrogen peroxide. How long is your incision? When you say it's very red do you mean that you think it is infected or is it just red due to the healing? I'm trying to use a scar cream, but I think I'm sensitive to it and it makes me neck really itch, but I'm trying to use it anyway.

    What do you mean when you say it feels funny when you turn your head the wrong way? (Sorry - what does "funny" mean? What is the "wrong" way?)
    I'm sorry to hear that you still have severe pain at the back of your neck! What procedure and level was your surgery? Are you still seeing your surgeon? I'm new at these boards and so I don't have a lot of experience like many on here do, but maybe someone will have some good advice for you.
    It would be discouraging to have surgery and it not work. Is there any chance that it will continue to get better over time? Two and a half months is still pretty soon after surgery, I think.

     
    Old 05-18-2009, 05:07 PM   #14
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    Re: Incision Healing

    I had a posterior approach so I hadn't weighed in on this but I may have a suggestion. My scar is 8 inches long and goes up into my hair. My primary suggested rubbing Vitamin A into the skin everyday. Just get a bottle of the gel type vitamins, stick a pin in one and squeeze out the liquid. It helped to speed the healing, lessens the redness, and softens the scar. I did this with my knee replacement scars too. Really helped with the hair as it came in although it was messy.

    As for lumps and discomfort, they move a lot of stuff inside in the anterior approach so you should expect discomfort until everything heals. I was told 2 years for a full recovery with my surgery. Give it some time.

    gentle hugs..............Jenny

     
    Old 08-09-2009, 09:50 AM   #15
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    Re: Incision Healing

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Stonepile View Post
    I understand exactly what you are feeling. I had ACDF C5-C7 on April 10th. I have searched all over for information about that swollen lump feeling when you swallow. I am 19 days ahead of you and my incision site is still just slightly tender, however, mine too is still swollen (although it is improving.) It does feel like the swelling is pushing back on the trachea and I wonder if that makes the esophagus push back against the plate put on the front of the spinal column. That's kind of what it feels like. Do you feel like something gets stuck sometimes? To me it seems that the esophagus gets hung up on the top edge of the plate. All of this may not even be physiologically possible, I don't know, but that is what it feels like to me. I have also noticed that air often feels like it gets trapped coming back up and I almost have to push it up to get past the swelling. How about you? Does that sound like what you are experiencing?

     
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