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Neck surgery patient please reply

TurtleTTurtle Posts: 161
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Pain Management
I am now 9 days post op and my neck incision area is hard as a rock and swollen. It's like I have a lump in there. The steri strips are still in place. I don't recall it being swollen so much the first few days. I have no fever and the area is not red-just large like I have an Adam Apple!

PS I'm a female!
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Comments

  • You might want to call your surgeons office and talk to them,they might have a doctor on call......
  • The office manager said she would tell the surgeon and call back if he was concerned. Didn't say when he would call back however, so I would still appreciate any replies from people who have had neck surgery.

    Did they have a similar occurance, as well? Is this normal? It's hard to wait for a phone call that may never come-but you can bet I will be calling again on Monday.
  • If I were you I would draw a circle around the bump recheck an hour later and see if it's gone beyone the lines. If it's getting too big you need to go to the ER and tell the Surgeon you'll meet him there. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Why this advice-does it mean something might be wrong? I thought this might be natural swelling but if you think it's bad news, I will go to PromptCare tomorrow. My surgeon is out of town and I hate to drive 2 hours and have him tell me it normal, plus I really don't think he'd see me on a Sunday. They did not give me an after hours telephone number.
  • I thought you were worried about it. And you said it showed up a few days after and it was the size of an adams apple. I hope I didn't worry you, just to comfort you and make sure it didn't get bigger. I'm sure others who've had neck surgery will come and let you know more how there surgery has healed. It could be some inflammation from the surgery and it's naturally healing. This is in no ways medical advice and I'm not a Dr. so I couldn't make any diagnosis. Take care and hope you get some rest. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • About how their incisions healed. If others cervical patients went thorough something like this, I would like to heard about it. It could be normal for all I know since it doesn't hurt-just is hard and bluges put like an Adam's Apple. I am not asking for a diagnosis-just neck surgery patient's experiences. I think I am on the right spine forum for that request.

    Did other people's incisions site stay flat and soft or did some have the same swelling and hardening like mine?
  • My incision is vertical. It was very lumpy, hard and swollen when they took off the bandage and removed the sutures. It's been getting less lumpy and softer as time goes on. Because it was like a string pulled tight at both ends, my PA told me to massage it as much as I could to get it loosened up. I didn't actually see my incision until they took off the tape 10 days after my surgery. I was told that if there was any signs of seepage, bleeding, pain or redness to contact my surgeon immediately, but the lumpiness, etc. was normal.

    I hope yours is ok. If you have ANY concerns, be sure to contact your doctor. Hope my experience is helpful to you.

    Cath
  • ...I have had quite a bit of numbness around and on the incision and up into the bottom of my chin, but that's been going away slowly. Doc says it'll go away completely with time.

    Cath
  • I had removed all of my steri-strips by about the 7th day. Your skin incision should be healed in 7-10 days. My scar actually was minimal at first but has gotten more red, hard and a little irritated after the first couple weeks. I saw my NS earlier this week (I'm 8 weeks post-op) and he even mentioned that my scar looked a little more red than expected. He explained that I may just be having a reaction to the subcuticular sutures and the scar should start to look better once the sutures are all dissolved. Compared to the news of how well I'm fusing, I don't really care about the scar at this point!

    The stitches under your skin are essentially a foreign body that your own body is reacting to. Maybe you are having a little bit of an allergic reaction to the suture material. I am a vet tech and have seen some of our patients have mild to severe reactions to different types of suture. Severe allergic reaction can lead to infection and we put the animals on antibiotics. Worse case scenario is we have to go in, remove the sutures, and re-stitch with a different type of suture.

    You could probably stop in to most any clinic and have them check your incision. They can give you a better idea if it's a problem or within the "normal" limits of healing.
  • This is what I needed to hear-that it's likely normal. I didn't want to over react but the incision is such a hard lump, unlike any other cut I've ever had. Maybe it all those other layers inside that they have to sew up.

    My cut is horizontal and they said they would try to put it in a crease in my neck-but it was such a low cut-I don't recall having one there :) I don't have a post-op visit until 6 weeks from now so the doctor won't be seeing me anytime soon. The steri-strips are to fall off themselves and hopefully be healed-there are no stitches there.

    Other replies greatly appreicated.
  • I just had my new female puppy spayed and she had a reaction to the sutures just like you mentioned. She had a hard lump under the incision. I took her back in and they put her on antibiotics because the area was red, swollen and starting to ooze. The dog was frantic trying to get to it. She's fine now.
    When I had my neck surgery I had stitches, and below that another smaller incision with a drain tube. It was covered with gauze and tape that I had to change every 12 hours. The area did get somewhat swollen and hard, but not painful. I would definetly go in if it starts to ooze or hurt in any way, better to be safe than sorry.
    My incision also turned a little redder than I would have wanted, but after a year it had all but disapeared. I used a scar reducer that you can buy in the drugstore to make it less noticable, it seemed to work for me. Being female, we don't really like scars to show if possible. ;))
  • If I don't hear from him again-I won't just assume no news is good news but go to a clinic. I don't feel bad (except for the acceptable level of post-op arm and shoulder pain and spasms) and there is no fever-however the suture area is about 1.5 degrees warmer than the other part of my neck. I have a temperature gun I use to check ambient temps in turtle pens that will work on skin as well as anything else it comes in contact with.

    It sounds like I have nothing to worry about-but sure wish my surgeon would have given me more information about healing, etc. The nurses flat out told me they usually don't deal with spine surgeries so couldn't help me with my questions so to ask the doctor, but I could bearly talk when he came in and still dazed-I was just happy to be alive!
  • If I remember correctly from my 2 times both latteral incisions they were swollen while healing and hard to the touch, no real pain just tender and still have numbness that radiates from my neck to R/ear and the edge of the mouth I feel it when I shave just a decrease in sensation. Did they put a drain in the location (a tube)that helps remove fluids that build up? first time I had one when they went in and did the Anterior Fusion, they took it out on the 3rd day. If you want you could Ice the location for tenderness and see if the swelling goes down, no longer than 15 minutes and not direct contact with the site. Eating some Ice Cream :D can have the same effect and it tastes good doing it.

    Good Luck and Bug the Doc He got payed very well for his work.

  • so far..but can't be sure since the steri-strips cover a wide area. The doctor didn't call me but his office assistant did and set me up with an anppointment for next Monday and a new script for the nerves, she said. Never heard of it and I'll let you know what it is when I get it tomorrow. I also got more anti-infammatory meds. They only gave me 10 tablets at the hospital to take home. I don't see why anyone in their right minds would want to feel this fuzzy and groggy all the time. I take as little as I can so it won't re-adjust my brain cells. I love my brain the way it is :O) But I definelty need some for nights like this one where the tightness around my left shoulder and arm is distracting, not really painful. I guess that would be a level 2 to 3 if level 1 is ignorable pain.

  • I have had 4 different fusions (ACDF) and have had the hard knot that went away over time on the last 2 for sure that I can remember. It went away a few weeks (maybe a month) after surgery.

    Hope this helps
  • That does help to know. You are right, it is a hard knot!

    My husband wants to look at it but the surgeon said to wait for the steri-strips to come off on their own and they looked to be there for awhile longer. Thanks!
  • And oh what an ugly sight! I told my husband I'll need cosmetic surgery if it doesn't get better soon, and while I'm at it I might as will get a neck lift and breast agmentation. Oh, I'm bad image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />

    But really the scar is ugly, red, all knotty and there still that big lump underneath. Surgeon said I would't even know it was there! Hummp!
  • It really will improve with time. My doc said it won't be visible when it completely heals, but I didn't believe him. Now, it's slowly going away on the top and bottom - it's blending right in and the lumps are softening, too.

    I know this is really weird, but I don't want it to totally go away. I think of it as a battle scar and I won the battle so I want to wear it like a badge. Yes, you read that right. :))(

    Cath
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