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Extreme pain and odd numbness post-op
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TOPIC: Extreme pain and odd numbness post-op
#3015
dlsantillan
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Extreme pain and odd numbness post-op 4 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 0
I had surgery 11/6, cubital tunnel release -medial epicondylectomy. The lateral side of my forearm and elbow experiencing continuous numbness and slight swelling since surgery. I am very concerned about this numbness as it is on the opposite side of the area where surgery was done. Medial side is very painful (maybe due to surgery), feels like muscles are cramping or pulling apart when attempting to straighten arm or while doing light stretches, arm is most comfortable when held at 30-45 deg angle. Though it feels like dead weight. Cannot straighten arm completely and unable to touch hand to nose after surgery. Feels like elbow is going to break. Basic things like using the bathroom, brushing teeth, blowing nose, etc have become a chore. Reported concerns to doctor on 11/12, Surgeon is not too concerned, said no splint necessary after surgery, to resume light usage and begin post-op therapy, stitches to come out 11/19. Pain is not the same as pre-surgery (pre-surgery was constant moderate elbow pain, aching down forearm, tingling and numbness in fingers), but the post surgery pain is actually far worse. Pre-surgery I dealt with the daily pain, post surgery pain brings me to tears. To top it off, my lower lip (right side only) has been numb since awakening in recovery room, no explanation for this. Is something wrong? Or is this the healing process?
 
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#3023
BrendaB
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Re:Extreme pain and odd numbness post-op 4 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 0
dlsantillan wrote:
I had surgery 11/6, cubital tunnel release -medial epicondylectomy. The lateral side of my forearm and elbow experiencing continuous numbness and slight swelling since surgery. I am very concerned about this numbness as it is on the opposite side of the area where surgery was done. Medial side is very painful (maybe due to surgery), feels like muscles are cramping or pulling apart when attempting to straighten arm or while doing light stretches, arm is most comfortable when held at 30-45 deg angle. Though it feels like dead weight. Cannot straighten arm completely and unable to touch hand to nose after surgery. Feels like elbow is going to break. Basic things like using the bathroom, brushing teeth, blowing nose, etc have become a chore. Reported concerns to doctor on 11/12, Surgeon is not too concerned, said no splint necessary after surgery, to resume light usage and begin post-op therapy, stitches to come out 11/19. Pain is not the same as pre-surgery (pre-surgery was constant moderate elbow pain, aching down forearm, tingling and numbness in fingers), but the post surgery pain is actually far worse. Pre-surgery I dealt with the daily pain, post surgery pain brings me to tears. To top it off, my lower lip (right side only) has been numb since awakening in recovery room, no explanation for this. Is something wrong? Or is this the healing process?

Greetings dlsantillan and Welcome to the site!!! I will try to answer some of your questions, and hopefully put *some* of your fears at ease? My surgery was different, but "cutting" occurred for us both. I don't know if you ever "broke" a bone or not, but the pain you are describing is fairly normal! A piece of your bone was "cut" away, and as such (and this I can speak to from fusions), there is a lot of chemical processes going on to "tell the bone" to heal. That alone causes stiffness, pain, swelling, and you might get some cramping below into your hand.

As for the numbness opposite the surgery. There are a zillion (exaggeration on zillion of course <G>) nerves that run though the skin. After my surgery, I was numb for months on the forearm below the incision, the outer elbow (opposite of the incision) and on the top of the forearm, a bit of numbness. My elbow and lower forearm came fully back, but I still get the occasional "tickle" on the top of my forearm. Many of the little nerves heal - normal.

I was lucky in that I could straighten my elbow fairly fast. As it turns out for me, my elbow wasn't entrapped as bad as my hand. Some folks than stretch that puppy out immediately, others like yourself, it is part of the healing process - remember, you have a chunk of bone removed - your elbow had trauma due to this, and will take time to heal. You don't want to push it. Most likely that too is normal and will come back to normal or near normal.

I can't speak too much for the lip, except that since you were probably "under", the tube from the intubation might have been an irritant for you, or it might have been pressing on a nerve in your lip. If so, that too *should* come back, but I am not familiar with that happening. From your post, it might be why your doctor isn't concerned at this point, as most will get better with time. You are still pretty close to your surgery. Give your body time to heal. I know it is stressful, but it should get better. Take care. Good luck with it, and please keep us posted - especially the lip issue, as that is the only symptom that seems out of the norm - but should get better. *HUG*

Brenda
 
Mar 08 ACDF with Instrumentation C5/6
April 08 Subcutaneous Ulnar Transposition, Guyon's Release and claw fingers release
Aug 09 ACDF with Instrumentations C6/7
Oct 09 (new) Degenerative disk disease with Osteophytes C7/T1 Degenerative disk disease C2/3, disk bulge, Osteophytes
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#3035
dlsantillan
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Re:Extreme pain and odd numbness post-op 4 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 0
Thank you so much for the explanations. I wish my surgeon had explained it in terms pre-surgery so I could have known what to expect. He painted such a rosey picture I believed within two weeks I'd be as good as knew, being that I was coming up on my two weeks I figured this was as good as I would get, and it was far worse than pre-surgery days. I was becoming depressed and disappointed. Now with your explanation my spirits were lifted (thank you so much) and I took your knowledge to the doctor and he concurred. So now I see everyone heals differently and there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Today I had my stitches out, doctor says so far so good. Healing a little slower than expected, still a lot of imflamation on the lateral side, but definetly healing. He said numbness on lateral side was normal and may take months to return but should return. As for the lip, he believes I might have bitten my lip during surgery, as I can recall awakening in the recovery room biting my lip, and I might have done so to the point of damaging a nerve. The wound I had on the inside surface of the lip has healed but a lump remains just under the surface, he feels it too should resolve itself. Regardless he will check the lip and the inflamation in two weeks. He says once I have more post-op therapy I should regain my range of motion and the pain will subside. He wants me to continue trying to use the arm without over doing it. Baby steps. Thank you again Brenda your words were inspiring.
 
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#3036
BrendaB
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Re:Extreme pain and odd numbness post-op 4 Years, 10 Months ago Karma: 0
dlsantillan wrote:
Thank you so much for the explanations. I wish my surgeon had explained it in terms pre-surgery so I could have known what to expect. He painted such a rosey picture I believed within two weeks I'd be as good as knew, being that I was coming up on my two weeks I figured this was as good as I would get, and it was far worse than pre-surgery days. I was becoming depressed and disappointed. Now with your explanation my spirits were lifted (thank you so much) and I took your knowledge to the doctor and he concurred. So now I see everyone heals differently and there is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Today I had my stitches out, doctor says so far so good. Healing a little slower than expected, still a lot of imflamation on the lateral side, but definetly healing. He said numbness on lateral side was normal and may take months to return but should return. As for the lip, he believes I might have bitten my lip during surgery, as I can recall awakening in the recovery room biting my lip, and I might have done so to the point of damaging a nerve. The wound I had on the inside surface of the lip has healed but a lump remains just under the surface, he feels it too should resolve itself. Regardless he will check the lip and the inflamation in two weeks. He says once I have more post-op therapy I should regain my range of motion and the pain will subside. He wants me to continue trying to use the arm without over doing it. Baby steps. Thank you again Brenda your words were inspiring.

Howdy dlsantillan, glad to see that I have helped you understand "where" you are at. As I mentioned, short of the lip issue, you seem to be "right on track" as they say!!! Glad even more that your surgeon agrees. Blushing by the way...hehehhe

I think personally thinking of how the "breathing tube" goes in surgery... *hopefully in a few weeks (or less) that will go alway! If it helps for future though? When I was like 20 I "back flipped off a high board" and goofed my "launch" .... well I bit my lip pretty bad. I got ALL of my feeling back, and the only reminder 30 years later..hehehe.. is this bump in my mouth!!

I like you went through this surgery amonst others. Lucky me, (not) I am looking toward 2-3 more spine surgeries within the year. I will be retired, so the "work" stress will be gone. My hubby and I went to diner last night, and when he and I met - I was all ready in law enforcement. He told me that he was nervous of me "having guns" in my face and such. It is funny, as he never in 20 years had a problem (stated) with my job - ummmm...that he stated anyways!!!

Just relax and let your body heal and you will be fine! It takes a while (depending on your surgery, it might take a year or two to get your nerves back! Yah...unfortunately, that is the real deal...take the nerves to heal 1mm a Month!!!

Please keep us posted on how things are going. yes, you might be healing a little slower, *but* you are healing for the most part average! Relax, and heal!!!! Take care!

Brenda
 
Mar 08 ACDF with Instrumentation C5/6
April 08 Subcutaneous Ulnar Transposition, Guyon's Release and claw fingers release
Aug 09 ACDF with Instrumentations C6/7
Oct 09 (new) Degenerative disk disease with Osteophytes C7/T1 Degenerative disk disease C2/3, disk bulge, Osteophytes
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