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Thread: abdominal surgery after anterior spinal surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lake Almanor, CA
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    7

    abdominal surgery after anterior spinal surgery

    Does anyone have information regarding the need for abdominal surgery after nerve damage in anterior spinal surgery?
    #1Has anyone had this sort of surgery? This is not necessarily only a revision question. Anyone who had anterior spinal surgery for any reason who has lost the function of abdominal muscles due to nerve damage could experience this. If anyone has any information on repair of the abdomen after this sort of damage, please let me know.

    #2Did anyone have difficulty with the bowels stretching past the 9 month pregnant look after a long surgery? This happens in some cases. This is different than actual nerve damage during the anterior approach to spinal surgery.
    I experienced both of these problems.
    I am very worried that in another revision, this stretching of the bowels and abdomen during the buildup of gases during long surgery will happen because my muscles are so stretched out already, and I now have significant abdominal nerve damage.
    These abdominal issues happen, but I can't find much documentation. I do think that documentation is coming out on this issue, but I would like to find any historical information on how to fix this problem after it has occurred, and how to avoid the problem in future surgeries.
    Please let me know if any of you have had these issues, and if you are still battling the problem years out of revision or anterior scoliosis surgery. Thanks
    SAH

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    6,794
    Hi...

    You might want to do a search on INCISIONAL HERNIA or ABDOMINAL WALL DEFECT. (It's not truly a hernia.) I had mine corrected about a year after my surgery, with a Gortex patch, by a plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, the fix only lasted about five years. I've known several other people who had theirs repaired, and they report that theirs returned after some time as well. I don't think I know anyone whose repair was permanent.

    Dr. Sigurd Berven at UCSF told me that his patients rarely report this problem. He does all of his own closing, and he meticulously closes each layer of tissue separately. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Whenever possible, he now avoids a large anterior incision.

    How long did you have the symptoms of "bowel stretching?" (Never heard of it called that.) If it was just a few weeks, it sounds like it might have been an ilius, which is relatively common after long surgery.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lake Almanor, CA
    Posts
    7

    Dr. Berven was my surgeon

    Dr. Berven was my surgeon at UCSF. I am one of his first failures. Not only am I the first to have the abdominal issues, but I am one of the first to have a large scale failure of revision. I am not posting to complain about Dr. Berven. That is why I did not name my surgeon. Since you brought his name up, I will reply that even in the hands of the best surgeons, things can go wrong. I will go back to him for revision of the revision. He, and UCSF, know that the revision has failed. I need another revision to fix this.

    Thanks for the replies regarding the abdominal issues. The suggestion was to tie the muscles up at either end, then place mesh over the entire abdomen to hold the muscles in place. I had scheduled this surgery prior to mending from revision, however, since the revision has failed I have cancelled my abdominla surgery. I don't know if it is better to get the abdomen fixed and then go into revision without the useless muscles, or if I should do the revision with the knowledge that I am well set up for the abdomen to stretch to the degree that it did in the first surgery. The bowel issues in the revision were a horrible complication. I don't want to go through that again, however, I don't want to go through most of what took place during my revision. Berven knows where my hardware is, and can better remove and replace it than any other surgeon. I just do not want to go through another revision, and the next revision will be more complex.
    By the way, I am not trying to get people to feel sorry for me, as I have been accused in the past. I am trying to get any information I can to address my current situation. I just was one who is much worse after revision than I was prior to revision. It happens, and it just happened to be DR. Berven's turn to have a failure. He does want to correct this. I just can't go through this right now.
    SAH

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,794
    SAH....

    You're right. I know of no doctor who hasn't had failures. We're all unique, and what works for some of us won't work for others. I have complete confidence in Dr. Berven.

    I have to tell you that most people I know who have had their first revision fail, tell me that the next procedure is much easier. I hope that's what happens in your case.

    --Linda

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