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Sensitive skin after Posterior Cervical Surgery

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Old 11-08-2011, 09:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2011
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isabellaw HB User
Sensitive skin after Posterior Cervical Surgery

Hi all,
I had Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy on C5/6 right, C6/7 both side 7 months ago, the incision is about 3.5 inches, slight left from the central line (I just realized it is about 2mm away from the central line a month ago).
Before surgery, I was suffering lots of back pain and arm pain due to the compression on the foramino (left and right nerve exit), which are refer pain. I didn't have walking, balancing problem. I think that is because of the nerve compression was not on the cord, but the side nerve.

In the first two months, skin on the left side of incision was very sensitive, sore to touch. There is no problem on the right hand side. I thought it will recover within half year. 7 months onward, althought skin is not sore, it is still very sensitive. I need to wear soft scarf to cover the area, normal fabri irritate the skin alot.

Did anybody has similiar problem? When will it go away?

And my neck muscle is still not strong enough to hold the head whole day long. I need to lie down every 5 hours (if I am lucky). I am wondering when I can stay up right whole day.

Thanks for helping.

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Old 11-09-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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Re: Sensitive skin after Posterior Cervical Surgery

I had 2 posterior surgeries and my scar is about 2mms to the right of center and about 8" long(C3 to T1). As with you, the right side is okay but the left side is partially numb to about 2" to the left side. I think it has to do with the tiny nerves in the skin that get cut with the incision and are trying to heal. That can take 9-10 months for the nerves to reconnect. But even after that, I've had to remove all tags from the neckline of anything and often have to put something over the area to protect it.

I don't know why this happens and I've tried all sorts of lotions and vitamin ointments and aloe...nothing helps. It has just stayed sensitive but seems to be slowly getting better with time. At almost 5 years out from the last surgery, It really doesn't both me much anymore except that it itches all the time.

I've had the same problem with the scars from knee replacements and they took a ton of time to finally stop bothering me. Both are right where slacks rub so I now buy only soft material or wear something soft under them.

I suspect it has to do with having a scar right where our clothing tends to rub and puts pressure on thinned, sensitive skin that never really gets "hardened". Not much you can do but give it time.

As for holding up your head, it takes repeated practice to get those muscles working again. Make yourself hold it up for a half hour longer each week...set a goal...5 1/2 hours this week, 6 hours a day next week etc. Or ask about getting a little more PT to isolate and strengthen those muscles. But again, cut muscles can take up to 8 months to fully heal as well. So that should get better soon.


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isabellaw (11-10-2011)
Old 11-09-2011, 12:28 PM   #3
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Re: Sensitive skin after Posterior Cervical Surgery

I had a C5 foraminotomy seven years ago, with no post-surgical problems at all.

I don't know about the skin sensitivity, but I think you should NOT be having muscle problems after such a minimally-invasive surgery.

Last edited by WebDozer; 11-09-2011 at 12:30 PM.

Old 11-09-2011, 09:15 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Australia
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isabellaw HB User
Re: Sensitive skin after Posterior Cervical Surgery

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your quick reply.
My 3.5" is much shorter than your 8", scary.

Me too tried all sorts of lotions and Elmore oil, vitamin E oil, Chinese rubbing oil, infrared, TEN. The only thing which helps a bit is Vitamin B12, but it only improved the condition from "very sore" to "a bit sore" for the first two weeks, no more improvement afterwards.

I just came back from my follow up appointment with my surgeon. He said that the incision went through the upper skin and then the ligament in the middle, not through the muscle under the skin. He said it could be the nerve between the vertebrae bone and muscle, which was injured when the muscle was separated from the bone during surgery. 90% of patient takes 6 months to recover and it could takes up to 18 months. I just hope it will not be there forever. I will try acupuncture next.

I will talk to my PT for neck strengthen exercise again, not just message.

Hi WebDozer,
I think my muscle problem is weakness and fatigue and sensitivity problem is cause by nerve, hopefully not the spine again.

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