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Thread: Numbness after surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459

    Numbness after surgery

    I'm 4 weeks post-op as of tomorrow (and feeling great now for a record 5 days in a row!!!!!!) and still have quite a bit of numb areas on my chest and back. How long does this numbness usually last? Has anyone had the numbing feeling just never go away????

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    96
    Hi Heidi,

    Great that you're beginning to feel better - it does continue but slowly. I also had the feeling that the numbness might never go away - I'm now 3 months post-op but an oldie (55) so things go slower at this age. I used to get a kind of rigid numbness around my whole trunk, but now it is just a patch on my back, sometimes reaching round into the right side (point of one op). THis happened gradually during the second month. I still hate the feeling - it is this that stops me sleeping, not pain any more. I suppose it is the nerves slowly regrowing and reconnecting. I gather the healing/fusing process goes on for 2 years at least, by which time I am hoping it will either be gone or I will have got used to it.

    Hope things go well for you, do get back to me if you want,

    Lavinia

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    166
    I'm over a year post op and still have a lot of numbness.
    Immediately following my op, I was numb the whole length of my incision, and it wrapped all the way around my sides, nearly to my chest and stomach...
    Now, it's reduced to an area about 8" wide centered over the incision. The previously numb areas arent numb anymore- they do haev sensation, but it's somewhat different than normal.
    My hip scar isn't numb on or around the scar, but a couple inches to the right, I have numbness that goes over my hip and butt, and also a thin "band" that wraps around to the front of my hip, and then runs down the front of my thigh a little ways.
    Blair

    Dec 15th, 2003 @ age of 20
    Posterior Fusion and CD Horizon instrumentation T2-L1.
    Surgery by Dr. Herkowitz- Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak, Michigan
    Excellent correction of 52 degree single left thoracolumbar curve. Slight curve remains in unfused lumbar region but seems stable.
    February 5, 2005- Failed Scar Revision Surgery
    September 17, 2005- 2nd Failed Scar Revision.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    96
    Blair, how aware of the numbness are you now? Does it still bother you/stop you sleeping etc, or does it obtrude only at moments? Would help us all to know!

    Bst, Lavinia

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    166
    Sometimes its worse than others. For a while, the sensation was really unpleasant and would actually leave me a feeling quite sick to my stomach. But it's gotten much better... It's unpleasant at times, but is seldom painful (unless I scrub my back with a washcloth, etc... or somebody pinches me. THAT feels really unpleasant), and I can count on one hand the number of times it's woken me up at night or really gotten in the way since my initial "healing" period. I'm a year, 2.5 months post op.

    My biggest complaint is that if I've been on my feet a lot (I work in retail, so this is a pretty regular occurrence), my nerves act.... really funny. I'll get this feeling like the skin on my back is about two inches thick. I touch my back and expect to feel a huge amount of swelling or something, but it's just skin....
    I find that laying down or otherwise putting pressure on it for a while fixes right it though... Also, I've taken to wearing a snugly fitted camisole under my clothing. The little bit of pressure from them kind of serves as a reality check to my nerves, I think, and they don't misbehave so much.
    Blair

    Dec 15th, 2003 @ age of 20
    Posterior Fusion and CD Horizon instrumentation T2-L1.
    Surgery by Dr. Herkowitz- Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak, Michigan
    Excellent correction of 52 degree single left thoracolumbar curve. Slight curve remains in unfused lumbar region but seems stable.
    February 5, 2005- Failed Scar Revision Surgery
    September 17, 2005- 2nd Failed Scar Revision.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,797
    Hi Heidi...

    The length of time it takes for the numbness to subside varies greatly. I still had some numb areas more than a year postop.

    The doctor in charge of the graduate program in physical therapy at UCSF gave me a tip about resolving the numb areas I was left with after a year. Her therapy was to have me touch the numb areas with objects of various textures (e.g., a brush, a feather, a globe), while thinking of what the item should feel like. I was skeptical, then shocked at how quickly it worked for me. Apparently by thinking of what it should feel like, the brain helps to create new neural pathways to the numb areas.

    Regards,
    Linda

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    166
    Hm.... that's really interesting! I may have to try it once my wound heals up.....
    Blair

    Dec 15th, 2003 @ age of 20
    Posterior Fusion and CD Horizon instrumentation T2-L1.
    Surgery by Dr. Herkowitz- Beaumont Hospital of Royal Oak, Michigan
    Excellent correction of 52 degree single left thoracolumbar curve. Slight curve remains in unfused lumbar region but seems stable.
    February 5, 2005- Failed Scar Revision Surgery
    September 17, 2005- 2nd Failed Scar Revision.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459
    Thanks for all of your responses so far. I have an occupational therapist who visits my house twice a week and she also suggested touching the areas lightly to wake up the nerves. I have to agree with Blair that when I wash the areas or put lotion on them, it does hurt a bit...something my husband cannot understand. I tell him that it's just one of those "you don't know unless you go through it" things...luckily he's been incredibly sypathetic and helpful throughout this whole process. He's also very good at pushing me to get out of bed to do my exercises....something I'll someday be grateful for

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