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still swelling and frustrated

jayhawkjjayhawk Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all! I am about 4 1/2 months post 360 L4-5 fusion and I am still swelling!

I am back at work. Today I had significant abdominal swelling. My abdominal insicion is horizontal and from just right of my navel to my left hip bone. I have swelling above my swelling, still!

I know everyone is going to recommend that I call my surgeon, and I will, but I am confident he will tell me to be patient. So easy for him to say...:(

I went to buy a new pair of pant. I picked out the same cut, style and designer of the other 3 pairs I have (different color). I couldn't get them on....you can see my swelling through my tshirt. Looks like I am pregnant only shifted to the left.

Does anyone have this? I feel like I am the only one! I am beyond frustrated! I am also hypothyroid (significantly) and I think I remember excess fluid/puffiness as an issue, but I feel like at this point in my recovery this should have resolved.

Any input is appreciated ~ so very frustrated.


  • Is everything okay with bowels moving? I know there's a decrease in GI mobility with surgery and medications. I wear the wrap tops as they cover the big tummy. I know you're going to call the Surgeon and I hope this resolves for you soon. Have they done blood work ultrasound? I would want to know what's going on. I hope someone else who's had surgery can help you but hope your Dr. can give you some answers. TC. 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
  • Hello my friend.
    I don't have any word of wisdom. Just wanted to say hi to you when I saw your post. Let you know I was thinking about you. I understand your frustration as far as..when is this going to go away? I just said that to my husband last night.."I am so sick of this back pain...when is it going to go away?"
    I am still having significant pain at the surgery site if I try and do anything such as laundry..even 1 load..irritating..we had surgery around the same time....mine was on March 1st.

    Anyway...hang in there....

  • jayhawk,

    My thoughts are with you on resolving this. Insist on some tests as tonyanwisconsin suggested. Blood and/or pictures.

    I am now back to work and because of my lifting restrictions, I talk to a lot of customers. I am amazed how many have had back surgeries or have a relative who had it. Most are saying they needed a year to recover.

    I know things will get better, but with the significant swelling push your Dr to do the tests.
    There could be an infection or something that requires meds.


    Ditto on the "I am tired of this pain". I had severe pain 14 months prior to surgery and obviously still have it. Not as bad, but it wears you down mentally and physically.

    Good Luck,

  • Ken and Tonya ~ I so agree, I am so tired of all of this! I wish it were a roller coaster and we could get off ~ even for just a little while!

    Not too mention, I am flat out tired! Hubby has a new promotion, so he will be doing lots of traveling, which means not much time here to help!

    I looked up hypothyroid again last night and abdominal bloating/swelling/difficulty losing weight/weight gain are all symptoms. i am only day 17 of my new meds. I know I need to be patient, but it is so hard when a closet full of clothes don't fit...:(

    Ken, I hope you have had a good work week. I can't wait until I have adjusted to returning....

    Tonya, how did your appointment go with the surgeon? Looking forward to hearing!

    Charry ~ I've been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers today. I hope you get some pain relief from your injections! I don't think I could have done it without sedation. It is hard to be "butt up"! without something to ease the emotions.....

    Thanks guys! I'm down today, pain, fatigue, swelling that makes my belly look like barrel....

  • could give you some words of wisdom Shari but I have none.

    I don't know much about thyroid problems other than what my mom experienced and I'm afraid it doesn't relate to anything you are going thru.

    Hopefully it will settle down but I would definitely call the surgeon and if you get no joy from him/her then your PCP/GP and see if your thyroid is the problem. It only takes one blood test to find out!

    Seems to me you should not have any swelling this long after your surgery but what do I know...nada!!

    Keep the faith.

    P x
  • Thank you so very much and it was so great to see your post today in regards to your son's appointments! WOW, if it turns out he doesn't have to have the 2nd surgery that is great, because while a 360 is very successful, it is a bear of a surgery!

    I had to have my thyroid taken out completely years ago! My medication has kept everything stable for years and years, even thru my pregnancy!

    But, the stress of this surgery on my body caused it to go into "shock" and I am no longer absorbing the medication I. My endocrinologist watches me closely (every 3 months I have blood work) but due to the surgery it had been longer.

    At a min. he wants my levels 130+ and I was 62!:(. I know it will take a while and it's only been 17 days. He said IF I were to feel better, it would take atleast 17 days, but we may have to cont to tweek the amount I take until we get to the 130's....

    I will call tomorrow, but I think they will say...."be patient, it's still early!" I don't have a fever, it really isn't hot to touch (the heat index is 107 today!), it isn't red, etc. It's just hard emotionally.

    After I am off my feet (and bum :)) the swelling goes down and by morning, my pants fit!

    If only I were a man (sorry guys :)) I could just wear my pants under my belly and not think another thought about it!

    Thanks for your support! Sometimes it feels like ya'll are the only ones who get it! Don't know what I would do without ya'll! :)

  • Under the belly image..Hang in there girl. They will get you sorted out, just takes a bit of time with the thyroid problem and as long as you don't have a fever that is a good sign.

    Hugs to you,
    P x

  • So sorry that you are still having swelling issues. X(

    I suspect that returning to work could have something to do with it. All that moving about could be irritating the already ticked off tissues!

    You are just at the 17 days after starting the new medication, so only just reaching the time your doctor expected to see some improvement. Try to be patient with yourself. ;) (I do know and understand very well, that this gets very frustrating)

    Your body is working as hard as it can to heal itself, but it has been through a big trauma! :jawdrop:
    Treat it kindly, as if it is your baby! :X
    Be patient, it will get there, it will just take a while. If your weather is hot, that is probably not helping.

    By the way, I think we are getting the tail of hurricane Alex! We have been having heavy rain and very high winds! :S
    Bring back the sunshine. B)

    Keep smiling my friend, you are over the worst of this, it is just taking a long time to finish the job! :D
  • I am 17 days post-op from a level 2 fusion in my lower lumbar, with instrumentation and bone stimulator. I too have a huge stomach and look like I am pregnant. When I go to the Dr. next week I'm going to bring this up to him. I have a feeling that some of the "tummy" issues may be related to Osteoporosis.
  • Hi Shari,

    I'm sorry to hear of your issues and frustrations. I know my vascular surgeon that did the anterior portion of the fusion said that you can get pouching on the surgical side and can not show up until months later. since I have been back to work and stopped wearing the brace and doing physical therapy I have had more abd swelling and incisional nerve firing, like someone is zapping me with a little current. Its not bad but a little freaky when it happens. I have been having some issues with pelvic pain also so I am having a cat scan tomorrow. Not sure if it has anything to do with the surgery but will find out. Will prob make a post after I fine out results. Everything has gone so smoothly I hope it's nothing major. My gyno said it feels like my uterus is attached to something. I guess you can't move all our insides around and not expect them to rebel!! Hang in there. Lynette
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