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Chest pain

B52BB52 Posts: 247
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey y'all! As I sit here writing, I feel like someone has a set of scissors slipped in behind my left pectoralis (chest)muscle. Ouch.

During my 12 hour fusion surgery, I was lain face down on some kind of padded device I guess to hold me steady. I remember when I came to in the I.C.U., beside all the incredible pain, I remember looking down and seeing my chest VERY swollen. Especially the left side was swollen up to about a "C" cup size. In my drugged up stupor, I heard someone talking about how much blood they had given me and I convinced myself that I was bleeding internally and was fixin' to die. Of course I wasn't, but it's easy to imagine crazy stuff in ICU! Scared the crap out of me. My sister, who is an RN, was trying to calm me, but I was just about to come unglued. Anyhow, I think along about then, they gave me something to knock me back out. After several days, the swelling was gone.

Now that surgery was Nov 10th, '09. My chest has hurt like scissors jabbed in there, every hour of every day since. My doc said I may have had some tissue damage what with laying on the table for so long. He is not really concerned about it, so I haven't been. Still, it's quite bothersome. I'm not really sure what's going on in there. Seems like tissue damage might be healing up by now. Any ideas?

Oh and by the way, I didn't look all that bad with the "C" cup chest, but it was just too hairy for my taste! Hahaha.

Peace y'all,


  • Hey Aaron,

    What kind of fusion did you have? 12 hours is a long time to lay on the operating slab. My face was swollen tremendously for several days, as were my hands. But tissue damage seems extreme in your case. Are you able to alternate icing and heat? Did Dr recommend anything? That does seem odd. I hope it gets better soon.

    :) Traci
  • The procedure was an L5-S1 PLIF. I had the screws & rods too. The bone graft was allograft so at least I don't have illiac crest pain to worry about. Yes, 12 hours was a long time, but there were some complications, which I still don't fully understand. After they'd finished sewing me up, there was some bad internal bleeding in the back somewhere, and I wound up needing a transfusion. I don't really know what happened.

    I see your surgery was right about the time as mine. How are you feeling now? How long did your procedure take?

  • I'm sorry to see you had so many complications. My surgery was about 2.5 hours. Pretty routine for him, he said. I was lucky and only lost a minimal amount of blood so my surgeon decided not to replace but had me on iron supplement for 4 weeks. Honestly, I have good days and bad days. I tried going bsck to work. That was no good since I had to sit too much. And I think I would be much better off if I would stop falling down. I am klutzy as hell right now. I am still on pain meds, I wanted to be done with that by now. So it is a slower process than I expected, even though I read every post and heard straight from my Dr that it was long. But enough about me.

    Did your Dr suggest anything that might help your chest pain? I hate when they just say it might be this and never fully address it. Maybe an MRI to see soft tissue? Other than the chest thing, how are you getting along? Back to normal? Whatever normal is :)


  • Are you an artist by chance? Just wondering. No, the dr didn't really address the chest pain at all. So I guess I'll be like whattevah! and forget about it. Other than that, since you asked, I think I am doing well. I asked the Dr and my job about going back to work light duty and got nixed on that. So here I am, waiting and healing. Fortunately, I'm allowed to drive. Now I just need somewhere to go!!

    I hate that you're still on pain meds. What's the cause of that, do they know? I was lucky on that account. I took about 1/2 the bottle of percocet and that was it for the meds. It's funny how many of us with similar surgeries have such varied results and recoveries ain't it?

    Keep on keepin' on,
  • Hey B52, I had my surgery on Sept. 8th, and I have the same pain, but mine is under my right pec muscle. I've had it for as long as I've been out of the hospital. I had the same problems it sounds like. I had complications and spent 4 days in ICU getting blood transfusions. I don't remember any of it, but my wife said I was bleeding internally, due to an accidental cut of a blood vessel while doing the front side of my surgery. My pain feels like a really bad bruise!! I do have a lot of adhesions and scar tissue all around my abdomen, and I was wondering why I was so sore up by my chest. I did'nt say anything yet but I see my OS on Wednesday and I'll ask him what he thinks. Keep healing buddy!! Kevin
  • My surgery was only a few hours long, but I remember waking up and wondering why my left boob and the surrounding area hurt so much. I'm pretty sure it was that crazy frame they had me in. I remember when I first saw it as I was wheeled into the OR and wondering how the heck they were going to get me on that thing being the big woman that I am?!?!?

    Hope your pain goes away soon.
  • Hmmm, sounds kinda suspiciously the same doesn't it? After you see your doc, please post if you learn anything about the pec. pain won't you? That stupid pain just doesn't seem to get any better, but I hate to whine too much when people have real pain to worry with.

    Geez, a 19 screw, 4 level fusion? Crap I bet that's fun! YOU keep healing.

    Peace out,

    Maggie, you were awake going into the OR? I think I was out before I got out of the..ummm, well I don't know what you call it. It's where they came in and gave me a shot of some sort and hooked up an IV. I suspect it was full of happy medicine.

    Are you feeling better now or are ya still sore?
  • B52 said:

    Maggie, you were awake going into the OR? I think I was out before I got out of the..ummm, well I don't know what you call it. It's where they came in and gave me a shot of some sort and hooked up an IV. I suspect it was full of happy medicine.

    Are you feeling better now or are ya still sore?
    They didn't give me my happy medicine until after I was wheeled in to the OR. I remember that Midnight Rambler by the Rolling Stones was playing as I looked around at all the scary looking equipment. Thankfully, they gave me the nighty-night stuff before they inserted the catheter!

    The chest pain is mostly gone, but sometimes I still feel a twinge around there. Now, If I could say the same about my leg pain I would be a happy camper.
  • Aaron, Sadly I am not an artist. I am a customer service rep. Which really is an art in itself LOL. I think I am still on pain meds because I am scared to stop taking them. When I tried to go back to work, I had to take 2 percocet to drive home. It's a 40 min commute, so I just felt lucky I got no DUI. I am currently splitting my Hydrocodone 7.5/500 in half and I am off the percs, which makes me feel better for some unknown reason. I think I am suffering from nerve damage at this point. I lived with this for a long time before I found the right Dr. And if I could keep my butt out of the snow, I might actually heal. ;))

    Was your back bad for a long period before deciding on a fusion. Thats such a scary decision. I don't think anyone knows until they make it. Or did you suddenly have pain or an accident. Sorry if I am being nosey. But I am nosey so I can't help it!! If you keep anything priviate feel free to pm.

    Btw, after my surgery, besides the face and hand swelling, I was sore as hell across my upper thighs and groin. Dr did say that was exactly where they had me raised to do the procedure.

    Keepin on,
  • B52 said:

    Maggie, you were awake going into the OR? I think I was out before I got out of the..ummm, well I don't know what you call it. It's where they came in and gave me a shot of some sort and hooked up an IV. I suspect it was full of happy medicine.

    You were probably awake when you went in to!
    I can't remember which one it is, but one of the anesthetics blocks formation of memory! I was told all about the stuff I did pre op/post op on all of my surgeries, yet I remember very, very little of any of it! Maybe it is versed? or versaid? I forget, go figure!
  • Oh man..that reminds me. Of course they cath'd me while I was out. Then about 3 days later someone came and took it out. After a while, they figured I still needed one and came and jammed another back in. This time, though, I was wide awake! As much fun as that sounds like, I assure you it sucked! haha....not funny.

    Thanks for bringing that little memory tidbit back :P
  • hey, I was not awake when I went in the OR. I don't know what kind of contraption I was In. All I remember was getting wheeled down the hall on a Tuesday morning and asking the nurse what day it was and she said Saturday morning. The whole week was a total blur. I know I had IVs everywhere and the blood transfusions were going in my neck because they ran out of veins. LOL. Kevin
  • Dude, that sounds like the worst week ever! It kinda reminds me of when I was overseas and drank a lot, but worse. You doing much better now I presume?
  • Trasee, a customer service rep? I thought I had a tough job at the steel mill!!Ha. I'm not sure I'm cut out for customer relations. How on earth can you put up with people all day? That didn't sound nice did it? Oh well.

    I somehow broke the spinous process (?) off the back of my L5. It was a bilateral fracture, both sides of the bone broke off. There was about a 3/4" gap between that and the body of the vertebra. I may have done that in a swimming pool accident or in a bad fall I had in the military. It had been broken for some time, but was allowing the vertebral body to slip forward into spondylolisthesis 20% slip. Anyhow, over the last year and a half it got to where I was having trouble getting around. After talking to two nuero's, I pulled the trigger and had the fusion done. I thought, hell I got good insurance now and I'm as healthy as I'm gonna get, so why not? So here I am! Off work since November 8th.

    Don't worry about being nosey..I don't think anyone on here is too awful private or they wouldn't be here.

    Ride it like ya stole it..
  • I was also awake in the OR. They had given me happy meds, but I was still awake, talking to everyone. My Dr came in all scrubbed, said he would pray for me, I told him I would pray for him too, we all laughed and then I got the mask. Woke up 4 hrs later, and crabbed about itching. Anesthesia always makes me itch.
  • Hey buddy, Just wondering if you were in the service. Guessing Army?! I was in the Marines years ago. Take care guy. Talk to ya, Kevin
  • Kevin, you have me confused with my brother. He did the Army, 3 of my sisters and I went Air Force (like my daddy. I did 11 years and I got out when the damn Soviets went out of business. I always thought of the Soviets that we were never friends, but we made great enemies!! Heck, they kept me in work for a long time!

    A Marine eh? Hats off to ya for that. When I was about 22 or so, me and some USAF buddies got in a dust-up with some Marines. I learnt then that they make Marines tough! Ha..

    Salute and thx for your service

    Aaron S. Bouser
    SSgt, USAF
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