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10 years post thoracotomy for Excision of T9-10 with cadavier bone

rrforkrnrrrforkrn Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Chronic Pain
When I had my surgery 10 years ago they cut me in half to repair my thoracic spine. I still suffer every momement of every day in pain. The pain radiates through my chest (makes it hard to breath)and goes down both legs. The surgery to repair my spine caused damage to my right side and right arm. The only thing that doesnt hurt me now is my left arm and left side. The pain from the thoracotomy is still unbearable. I don't understand why my ribs, my right side, and abdomin still hurts as well as my internal organs. If I new then what I know now I would have let myself become paralyzed than have the surgery.


  • I am sorry you're still having so much pain from your thoracotomy. I have heard that post-thoracotomy pain can be terrible- so far I've been very lucky!

    Have you seen a pain management doctor about your post-thoracotomy pain? Since the pain is often caused by nerve damage, they might be able to help you.
  • Sorry that you are hurting :( Stories like yours scare the heck out of me.

    I am currious if you have had any ct scans/mris/ flexion extension x rays since your thoracotomy?

    Has anyone spoken to you about a pain pump or a spinal cord stimulator?

    This is a great place with many wonderful people and tons of rescources.

    Hang in there :)

  • Know your options before you submit to a major invasive procedure like this. My cousin had surgery to repair an aortic defect through a posterolateral thoracotomy at age 14 - and he suffered severe post thoracotomy pain syndrome even 5 years after surgery - which led to him committing suicide.

    5 years ago while cycling I was involved in a collision with a drunk driver at 7am in the morning - at first I just had neck pain, and with physio things seemed to improve, but 6 months afterwards, I began to experience partial paralysis in my legs - the MRI revealed I had a herniated disc at T5-T6, and the neurosurgeon proposed a discectomy through a posterolateral throacotomy. I was warned very clearly about the possibility of PTPS, and having problems with the use of the arm on the side of the incision because of the damaged muscles. Being 25, this was not acceptable. I did research, and found Name Removed in California who has written several peer reviewed papers on minimally invasive surgeries, and has taught surgeons around the world his procedures. He reviewed my MRI, and decided that I needed surgery in an expeditions manner. For the procedure I was put under conscious sedation, and it was done by local - I only recall feeling slight pressure. The following day, I only experience moderate pain, but by the following evening, I had regained full use of my legs, and the electric shocks in my arm were gone. The only problem I found is that he has too heavy of a caseload for an aging doctor.

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  • I am just saying, do your research before you subject yourself to any kind of invasive surgical procedure involving thoractomy. In many cases, there may be a much less invasive way to get the same result. Many neurosurgeons are extremely reluctant to perform any sort of surgery on the thoracic spine because the risk of malpractice lawsuits is so high - A study out of Montreal showed the incidence of post-thoracotomy pain syndrome is as high as 50% - and the post operative pain is the worst possible - if a median sternotomy (used in heart surgery) had a pain score of 5, a thoracotomy would be a 10. My cousin had told me imagine broken ribs, cutting through muscle, plus the pain from the damaged intercostal nerve was like there was a red hot element plus the feeling of electric shocks from having a bare copper wire strapped around your chest and plugged into an electrical outlet - and you are on a respirator and you can't scream.

    Many surgeries like fusions can be done by VATS (thoracoscopy) that were traditionally done through thoracotomy - you just have to find the right doctor. Start by looking at minimally invasive surgery on google, and look for doctors at major research universities - and look at the number of peer reviewed scientific papers they have written. A second, even a third or fourth opinion can be worth a lot - even if your HMO doesn't want to pay - would you want to save $16,000 in exchange for a lifetime of pain? Surgery from VATS can still be painful afterwards, but it's far more bearable than the alternative, and if you can, look for a microendoscopic alternative.
  • Motorcycle accident May of this year . . . crushed left femur and shattered spine- fused T6 through T10 with Pedicle screws, rods, etc. After 7 months pain is constant and feels like hot steel corkscrews in my spine all the time. Going to the spine doc today to see what my options are. Hopefully get this handled. Worst part is the leg . . . nonunion of distal femur fracture- possibly more surgery with bone grafts . . . still able to work with the help of Oxy's but hopefully I will fully recover, just will
    take longer than I thought.
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