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Just an update..........

Amanda S YanisAAmanda S Yanis Posts: 124
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I got out of the hospital on Thurs. after being there since Sunday. It turned out to be a combination of staph and some other type of infection. On Wed. morning the doctor told me we may have to go back to the OR again and put in a wound vac. But after changing my dressing that morning he said it looked alot better and he didn't think it would be necessary to do another surgery. He showed my husband how to change my dressing and is setting us up with a home health care nurse to check on it a couple times a week just to make sure it still looks good. But hubby made it through the dressing change three times now all by himself. Although I did talk my dr into prescribing me some xanax before the dressing change as i was having horrible panic attacks in the hospital prior to it.

So the plan is to let the wound heal from the inside out, so no closing it back it up. I finally got the nerve to have hubby take a picture of it last night and it actually didn't look as bad as I thought it would. It is about 3 inches long by 1 inch wide. Hubby says it is about 3-4 inches deep, but I couldn't see that. One nurse told me that it is really close to my spinal column, so that is why the dressing change hurts so much, but as time goes on it will get better.

Has anyone else had any experience with infections after surgery??


  • I am so glad to hear that you are home and healing. I did have an infection in my cervical incision from that fusion but it was NOTHING like yours. I am praying for continual healing.

  • Oh and KUDOS to your hubby!! Way to go!
  • I was waiting to see what your doc decided to do as far as healing your wound before sharing my experience with the same thing. The only difference, is my wound was intentionally opened. What you were told about it becoming less painful is very true. It will get to where all you feel is a small amount of pressure and no pain. The biggest pain, is for the person who has to change the dressing out. I was not allowed to see my wound for nearly 4 weeks, the doc and my husband refused to let me see it. When I finally did, I could understand why.

    I had to have the gauze stuffing changed out twice a day for the first 7 weeks and then once a day for two more weeks. It took 9 weeks to get the wound to close based on the size of it and the amount of lymphatic fluid my body continued to produce. I would soak through boxes and boxes of 4 X 4 gauze pads a week.

    The key to getting the wound to finally heal properly, was seeing a nutritionist and getting some guidance on what my body needed in order to get it to "kick in" and start filling in the wound. I wasn't eating enough calories or taking in enough protein and zinc initially. I was worried about gaining weight, so I had scaled back how much I ate. Once I got onto a good diet, then my body had the proper fuel it needed to start healing in hyper drive.

    The biggest concern with having the wound cared for by my hubby, was infection. He had to be very careful in preparing all the necessary materials and washing his hands good and prepping the site good. It was more nerve wracking on him than me. I made certain to let my hubby know how much I appreciated him for having to go through this. That was the hard part. He had to work 10-12 hour days and even had to come home for lunch to change out the external dressing. So it was a very tedious job for him on top of having to work hard all day.

    Once you heal, then all that's left is a scar. It's wider and thicker than my other surgical scars, but over the years of massaging it with lotion, I have managed to break up a lot of the underlying scar tissue and reduce the thickness of the scar itself.

    I am so glad that you went to the doc and got this tended to! Chalk it up as another part of your spine journey. Somewhere down the road, someone else will have the same doubts, the same questions and the same fears that you did. You will be able to share your experience with them and help reduce their suffering and fears and let them know they are not alone in all of this.

    Best wishes,

  • That my incision problems won't develop into an infection.
    I have part of my incision that hasn't healed, and is still leaking after 16 days. The surgeon saw it a week ago to take out the staples and wantd to see it after 2 weeks to check it. That will be in a week. There is not much if any difference in the last week. The rest of the incision looks great but the unhealed bit still looks like a fresh incision. I don't have a temperature and it is not very sore, so I hope it will sort itself out.

    Wishing you continued healing and glad that you are doing so much better now.
  • Yeah, hubby has been quite nervous when it is time to do the dressing change. We joked about giving him the xanax instead LOL. Mine is a wet to dry dressing, so the worst part is when it gets taken out and is stuck to my skin. Besides that it really doesn't hurt too bad. Taking the tape off my back is probably the worst, followed by the peroxide that they have to use around the outer 1/2 or so. After that it just feels like pressure unless my husband accidentally hits the wound while putting in the gauze. Thankfully I don't have to have it irrigated every day, just a couple days when the nurse is here so hubby won't have to do that.

    My "hole" started out about the size of a q-tip, that was intentionally left there after surgery for the drainage. When I went in Sunday and the dr. saw my back, he opened it back up himself by cutting it. I didn't know what was going on, except that it hurt, and when I asked what he was doing, they told me he was opening up the wound so he could see inside better. When I heard scissors I asked if he was stitching it back up and they said no, he was cutting stitches out. LOL I asked why they didn't knock me out, and they said there wasn't enough time, he needed to get it cleaned out asap. NOW that hurt like heck!!
  • The wet to dry is very typical and is the same that I underwent. I had so much drainage that the doc placed these retainers on my back that adhered to my back and opened up to allow access and then were laced back up to hold in the dressing. Here's a photo of what I looked like for the 9 weeks. image
  • Yep mine looks about the same! Only I'm no where as skinny as you LOL! How did you manage to get all the tape residue off your back? That is what is driving me CRAZY!!
  • I wound up going from silk tape to paper tape. It has less residue and is easier on my skin. We used alcohol instead of peroxide and it seemed to work better.

    Hang in there,

  • do you have any advice on where to find all the supplies cheap. It's only been a few days and we are already spending too much money on this stuff. Also I'm having problems finding the sterile water or sterile saline to wet the gauze. Our pharmacist told my husband you need a prescription for the water, but he showed him a spray bottle of the sterile saline that cost $10 and last through 3 dressing changes!!
  • about about a wherehouse type store where they sell things in bulk. It may cost less there. If you don't have a membership card, maybe a friend, family member or neighbor has one.....

    Amanda, I also had the same thought when I saw her back! :) thin, no swelling, no red areas, tape marks, or bruises and the insicion is so small! ahh life on the other side of the fence! Ha!!

    I am glad you are home now and on your way to recovery! Take care Shari
  • Great you're back home. I suggest your husband wet the dressing with sterile saline gauze for a few minutes first so it won't hurt when he takes out the dressing wet. Also ask the home health care Nurse if they can supply dressings and saline. Wishing you heal well soon. Take care. 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
  • I will send you a PM with a link to where I picked up our supplies. The doc's office was good enough to provide us with several bottles of the sterile saline solution and when they didn't have enough on hand the surgical clinic provided a bunch. As Charry says, ask the nurse that comes if she can bring you some. She may have access to it for just this reason.

  • Ok, I'm confused on what exactly the sterile saline is! Is it the same as what you would use for your eyes?? I need to order some today and i'm driving myself crazy trying to figure it out!! The wound sterile solution spray that hubby bought last week was $10 a bottle and lasted 3 days, so If I can find something alot cheaper I would be soooo happy!!
  • I would call home health care first to see if they can supply you with dressings. The saline comes in pint size or half a liter and you can get it at health supply stores in bulk or the pharmacy. But I would call Home Care first. You can also get adhesive remover 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
  • Hi Amanda, so good to hear from you. Sounds like your hubby has stepped up to the plate and deserves the Xanex (smile).

    As for supplies, keep the receipt for all that stuff for tax time regardless...anything medical at all - supplies, OTC calcium supplements, etc. are all deductable.

    I would see if your doctor can give you where you can get stuff less expensive. Good luck...I am glad others can confirm it will get better.
  • Amanda, I am happy to hear your home and on the road to healing. Those surgical infections can be nasty and super hard to beat, I had to have a second surgery to take care of mine, so I feel your pain. Check your yellow pages for any medical supply companies, they can sometimes get those types of supplies to you at a better than pharmacy price.

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