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HELP! I think my incision split open!

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
After I showered yesterday, I felt really uncomfortable around the incision. It felt raw and my shirt was really irritating it. In addition, I'm getting over a virus and now have bronchitis, so I've been sneezing and coughing quite a bit. Last night, everytime I'd turn in bed I must have moaned in pain, because my husband asked me what was going on. I told him the incision was bothering me, so he took a look at it, and he said it appears that the bottom part has split open. For now we've covered it with gauze and I'm going to call the NS office as soon as they open. Do you think they are going to have to use stitches again? Or will they be able to use the glue? The problem is that the doctor's office is an hour and a half away, and getting there with three kids is no easy task. Wondering if it would be easier to go to the ER later when my hubby gets home from work, and they can patch it up. Ugh, never a dull moment! Seriously!


  • HI,
    No idea of what to do, but get to the dr. or ER..whichever is closer and easier for you - hope all turns out ok for you..
  • Go to the ER. Also kim didn't you start a new job in a hospital? I would think that they could look at it as well. It is highly unlikely that the incision this far out post surgery broke completely open, sometimes there are still internal stitches they use that could be breaking through the skin, and they will causes some issues, as they may not disolve completely. But if you truly think it opened up like that go to the ER.
  • Thanks guys! I got a hold of the NP at my NS office. I had my son take a picture of it, and I was able to e-mail it to her. She said she's not too concerned because while the incision itself looks red, the skin around it doesn't. I told her that I've been sick with bronchitis, and I worried that perhaps the coughing contributed to it. In any case, she wants me to see my PCP today, so I'm going in at 2pm. She said she wants me on antibiotics both for the bronchitis and for the incision, just to be on the safe side.
  • Sounds like a good plan!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Due to reasons I'd rather not specify, this will likely be my last post here. I just wanted to update those of you who were concerned for me earlier. I met with my PCP and he looked at the incision and pressed on it, and I guess some pus came out, so he believes it's infected. As for the bronchitis, he thinks that is viral, so no antibiotic needed there. He had me wait in the exam room while he called my NS office, and apparently he gave them grief for not treating my pain properly. In any case, he talked with the NP at my NS office, and they are starting me on Clindamycin, which is a strong antibiotic to treat skin infections. He swabbed the incision and sent a culture to the lab. If it comes back as MRSA, they'll change me to a stronger antibiotic to treat that. Almost as soon as I got home, the NP called to follow-up with me over the phone. She said she wants me to keep it covered for the most part and absolutely no submerging it water, which I haven't been. She said she doesn't want anything rubbing up against it. She said she wants me to continue having my hubby take pictures to send to her, especially if it's not getting better with the antibiotic. So, that's my update.

    Other than that, I'm still suffering from this God-awful left-sided pain that they are still just telling me that I have to wait to see the doctor until the 23rd. I told her that if the pain gets to be as bad as it was two nights ago (it was definitely a 9, at least), that I will be taking my films and heading to my local ER, since the hospital they are located at is an hour and a half away from my home, and she agreed that was probably a good idea. Right now the pain is already at a 7 or 8. I just took an Ultram, so we'll see if that does anything. If that doesn't work I'll try a Motrin 800. If still no relief, I'll take an Oxycodone. And if that still doesn't help, I'm going to the ER. I refuse to suffer in THIS much pain for another 12 days.
  • I don't know what is going on that would cause you to stop coming here for support. It sounds like you really need the interaction and support that is offered here. I truly hope that you change your mind.

    Glad to see that you are on antibiotics, and that your pcp stepped in to discuss with your NS.

    I hope that your infection clears up quickly.

    Again, I would hate to see you leave, you are my surgery partner (day apart)which helps to see how others are doing around the same time post op, and hopefully I can support you as well.

    Hope all works out for you, and you are able to keep coming around.

    Wishing you all the best always!

    big >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Kim,

    Didn't you get the results of the MRI and CT scans you just had taken? If the NP says they don't have them something is wrong, and they should be able to give you the results over the phone. If the pain is getting that bad then by all means go to the ER, they can at least give you a injection of pain meds, if nothing is showing on the films. But the surgeon should have those images in his/her hands, in the event you land in the ER. They will call the surgeon and ask what they should do, as it is common practice to ask the treating doctor, what to do.

    Can you PCP not give you stronger meds? Also you might want to see about taking the meds before the pain hits, to try and stop it. If your taking pain meds after the pain sets in, then your making the meds play catch up to the pain. For example my fentanyl is on me everyday then I have my break through meds that I can take when it gets really bad. So maybe you need a longer acting med to stay in your system longer, or take the oxycodone on regular basis till you get the pain under control, just a thought.
  • tamtam,

    My surgeon's office DID get the results of the tests. The CT scan was only ordered to look at the surgical site, so T8-9-10. As for the MRI, they naturally scanned the entire thoracic spine, but the radiologist, for whatever reason, only reported on the surgical site as well. I'm going to bring my films with me to the appt on the 23rd for the NS to look at the entire thing. I'm not sure why the radiologist would have only reported on the surgical site unless the doctor specified that. When I talked to the NP on the phone, she said "good news! You didn't re-herniate." I said to her, "What about the other side, where the pain is?" And she said, "for that you'll have to talk to the doctor at your appt." So I'm guessing that the doctor's office only wanted to rule out re-herniation. What ticks me off is that I wasn't complaining of right-sided pain, so why did they feel the need to rule that out. IMO, the CT scan was completely pointless because it was only to check the surgical site. And the radiologist should have reported on my entire t-spine and not just the surgical site. I'm sure my insurance company would love to know they are paying hundreds of dollars for a test that was worthless. I wasn't even concerned about re-herniation. My concern is that one of the other discs, that we already know is herniated to the left, is getting worse, hence the excrutiating left-sided pain.

    I was all set to go to the ER last night, but then I realized that I have my first real night of training for my new job tonight. It's only from 6 to midnight, but I don't want to make a bad impression by calling off my first night. So, I decided to suck it up, take a couple of muscle relaxants so I could sleep, and get through today as best as I can. If after work tonight I'm still in massive pain, I'll either go directly to the ER (with the MRI films/CD in hand) or I'll go tomorrow morning. The pain yesterday was intolerable. I was literally in tears as I was trying to cook dinner for the kids. It was an easy meal that was already made...just had to put it in the pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes. But just for the few minutes I was standing at the stove, I was nauseated and throwing up because the pain was so bad.
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