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Thread: update and infection question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    52

    update and infection question

    Hi everyone,

    I am now about 4 weeks post op and overall, I feel great. I have been walking at least 2 miles a day and even took a day trip to walk the cliff walk in Newport RI this weekend (1 1/2 hour drive each way plus almost 5 hours of walking!). I started weaning off my pain meds last week by replacing some of the doses with extra strength tylenol and spreading out my doses which has been working out pretty well. I was also super excited to be able to sleep on my stomach again for the first time last night! Next week I start my GRE class twice a week and a sign language class once a week for 2 1/2 hours. I'm hoping I dont have any problems with that.

    I am concerned however because my incision doesn't seem to be healing quite right. The upper 1/2 looks awesome. You can barely see it and has been healed for almost 2 weeks now, but the lower half is not. About a week ago I was at my 3 week follow up and the doctor noticed that there were some spots on my shirt because the incision was leaking a little. He said it looked like a scab had fallen off, covered it, and said it wasn't a big deal because it didn't look like it was a fluid pocket leaking. Unfortunately it has only gotten worse since then. I have had to cover it with gauze every day. It leaks only in 2 small spots but it is a little weird colored. I dont have any other signs of infection (redness, swelling, fever, etc) but I am worried because this does not seem normal. I made an appointment with my doctor for thursday because he wants to look at it again but I was wondering if anyone else experienced this or if you had an infection, what did it look like?

    Thanks!
    Sarah
    22 year old grad student
    Boston brace from 12-14
    surgery on June 1, 2009 T3 to L2
    Yale New Haven Hospital Dr. Grauer
    Thoracic curve 47*
    Thoracolumbar curve 54*

    Surgery Photos
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...8&l=a2a5799140

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    I am probably the wrong person to answer this as I have not had this problem, but could it be a stitch trying to surface? Can you feel anything under the spot? Do you feel otherwise unwell? Is the discharge clear and thin, or thick and mucousy?

    You're doing brilliantly in the walking stakes - oh to be 20 again - but please don't push yourself too hard, you're recovering from major surgery.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    455

    incision

    Sarah,

    Can't answer your question about the your incision, mine healed really well. I just had to say that before we came to Virginia Beach we lived in Newport, RI. The Cliff walk is just amazing and all the old mansions! Where we lived we could look out our dinning room sliding glass doors and see the Newport bridge all lit up at night. We loved it!

    At 4 weeks post op though it does sound like you are doing a lot. Of course you are a lot younger than I am. To be 20 and go through this I would imagine is a little bit easier. I hope your incision gets better quickly but just take it slow and make sure you keep it super clean.....which I am sure that you are, I just had to add it in......it's a mom thing! Good luck...
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Hi Sarah,
    My abdominal incision took quite a bit longer to heal than the posterior incision. It had a couple of spots that drained a little pus where the scabs had fallen off. There was no redness, swelling or fever and it eventually healed up just fine on its own. I still think it is a good idea that you have an appointment with your Dr. on Thursday just to be sure it isn't anything other than a little superficial infection. Let us know what he says.

    I also have enjoyed the Cliff walk in Newport several years ago.

    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Westland Michigan (Between Ann Arbor and Detroit
    Posts
    46

    Incision

    Hi Sarah,
    I haven't had my surgery yet, upcoming on Monday, however, I've had several surgeries before and I'm in the medical field and an EMT. If the drainage is puss-like, or has an odor or is puss-like and bloody, that could be bad. I would definitely check with the doc again and insist that they be sure it's not an infection brewing inside. They can check your white blood cell count and/or culture the drainage to see if it's infection. I'll be praying for you that it's nothing but cellular fluid and nothing to worry about.

    Take care,
    Debbie

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    52
    Thanks everyone.
    I went to the doctor today and it turns out it was a stitch that never dissolved. I guess it came to the surface and was just poking at the inside of that part of the incision. The doctor said this can cause some swelling and irritation which is why there was the pus-like discharge. It was pretty gross looking but he said that there wasn't that much coming out and it was only coming from the outer part where the stich was. He just cut out the stitch and put some weird stuff on it thats supposed to make a scab form quickly. Hopefully it gets better from here...he says it should. Thanks for the advice and good luck on Monday Debbie!
    Sarah
    22 year old grad student
    Boston brace from 12-14
    surgery on June 1, 2009 T3 to L2
    Yale New Haven Hospital Dr. Grauer
    Thoracic curve 47*
    Thoracolumbar curve 54*

    Surgery Photos
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...8&l=a2a5799140

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    How weird. At almost 17 months post-op, I STILL have 4 stitches trying to spit that won't break the skin (my body historically rejects them).

    There's never been any leakage from any of them, or parts of the incision that wouldn't heal ... even on the one stitch I had that did spit early on (at 2 months, I think - maybe less, maybe more).

    Sarah, SO glad it was nothing serious ...

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    455

    stitch

    Sarah,

    That's awesome news, thank god it was nothing serious :O)
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,187
    My surgeon left some bone chips on my iliac crest harvest site. They kept making their way to the surface for several years, until finally the surgeon did another surgery to remove the leftovers.

    --Linda

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    455

    hip bone chips

    Linda,


    YIKES! That sounds like it would have been painful. I would have been VERY angry with my doctor!
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    Sarah,

    I'm so glad that's all it was! You must be so relieved.

    Linda,

    That bone chip thing sounds horrible! Was he thinking that they would all fuse back to where they belonged?
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    52
    Yes, I am definitely relieved. Pam, I think what happened was that the glue fell off that part of my incision before it was able to heal all the way so when the stitch came up the incision was already open in that spot which is why it was so irritating. My doctor did mention that some people are more sensitive to the internal stitches and might reject them. I generally have super sensitive skin so that may have had something to do with it.
    Sarah
    22 year old grad student
    Boston brace from 12-14
    surgery on June 1, 2009 T3 to L2
    Yale New Haven Hospital Dr. Grauer
    Thoracic curve 47*
    Thoracolumbar curve 54*

    Surgery Photos
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...8&l=a2a5799140

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,757
    Quote Originally Posted by sarah105 View Post
    Yes, I am definitely relieved. Pam, I think what happened was that the glue fell off that part of my incision before it was able to heal all the way so when the stitch came up the incision was already open in that spot which is why it was so irritating. My doctor did mention that some people are more sensitive to the internal stitches and might reject them. I generally have super sensitive skin so that may have had something to do with it.
    I don't have sensitive skin, and I wasn't glued.

    Due to my known historical rejection of dissolvable stitches, Hanson's team placed one old school, whip stitched 18" outer closure - LOL. What they neglected to tell me is they *assumed* I could tolerate the blue, permanent PDS internal stitches. My body's trying to expel them (as I said, has been for 17 months) too ...

    I keep saying I'm going back into surgery to get them cut under the skin, but haven't. With my history of MRSA, it's not an office job (although it could be ... the areas are completely numb).

    Next surgery (and I know the way I live I'll have one on *something* - laff ... knee, ankle, shoulder, etc.), NOTHING left inside me!

    Interestingly, a friend of mine is a genetic researcher, and she has a hunch I lack a necessary enzyme to break down stitches.

    Regards,
    Pam
    Fusion is NOT the end of the world.
    AIDS Walk Houston 2008 5K @ 33 days post op!


    41, dx'd JIS & Boston braced @ 10
    Pre-op 53, Post-op < 20
    Fused 2/5/08, T4-L1 ... Darrell S. Hanson, Houston


    VIEW MY X-RAYS
    EMAIL ME

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Glad that's all it was Sarah!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

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