Does anyone have any suggestions for managing chronic neck pain following a tumour embolization procedure? My mom has a large (9 cm) tumour in her neck and the diagnosis is paraanglioma or hemangioma (she seems to refer to it with both of these terms so I don't know if there's a difference). Her surgeon was going to try and remove it but when he opened up her neck he found it too vascular to operate on (risk of bleeding) so he did a biopsy instead (no cancer was found) and referred her to a specialist radiologist for the embolization procedure. She had the procedure 4 weeks ago under a general anasthetic and they told her afterward that they could only embolize part of the tumour because it was too large and they could not keep her anethetized for more than 4 hours. They used a catheter inserted through her groin to embolize the tumour and they also injected something right into her neck.
She began having neck pain right after the procedure but now 4 weeks have passed and dhe is still having neck psin. Is that a normal or typical side effect of embolization? The pain is so severe that regular analgesics do not help, so my mom is taking Tylenol 3 (acetominaphen with codeine). She is taking it everyday and says it helps but we are worried about it being habit forming, given that it has codeine. She says the pain is like an ache in the morning and worsens at the end of the day.
She went to her surgeon this week for follow up but he said it is too early to tell if the embolization has worked on tbe tumour. He suggested the pain is from the embolizing agents shrinking the tumour, a gradual process which could take several months to reveal the full effects. My mom is not scheduled for another follow up appt. for 3 more months.
Her surgeon was not very hopeful that tghe embolization will have longterm success. He said it would be very risky to operate due to the location of the tumour, wrapped around her carotid artery,. He said he'd have to cut the vagus nerve in order to remove it which could impact my mom's speech. On the other hand, he said that even with the embolization that was performed, the tumour is likely to grow again and this could impact my mom's ability to swallow and breathe. My mom is feeling pretty doomed about the whole thing and it is frustrating that the embolization has left her with this significant neck pain. Is the neck pain likely to be permanent? Is there something less harmful than codeine to bring her relief from the pain? I am even wondering if something simple such as putting ice on it would help? - or is this pain not related to swelling?
Prior to the embolization my mom had NO pain., and very few symptoms. Her neck looked a bit enlarged on one side and she had some trouble swallowing and numbness in her ear but only very occasionally and no change in these symptoms since the embolization.
Her surgeon is hoping to avoid operating because my mom has high blood pressure (controlled with medication) and atrial fibrillation (with no medication) and the surgeon said she is at a greater risk for a stroke. The reason he referred my mom for the embolization is because he was worried the tumour could shift its location and cause a stroke that way.. Another question: If the tumour grows or shifts its position, would that happen suddenly and dramatically (where my mom would urgently not be able to swallow or breathe), or is any change in the tumour more likely to be gradual? - with warning symptoms? - and would she still have the neck pain no matter what the tumour does?
My mom is 72 years old and healthy except for her high blood pressure (well controlled), atrial fibrillation , and she also has ulcerative colitis which is in longterm remission.
Thanks for any info. or help.