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Surgery Pain/Recovery with Lymphedema

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:35 pm
by Section

I hope someone on this board will be able to help me.

On Oct 6th I had a laparoscopic partial nephrectomy to remove 1% of my left kidney, on the outer edge there was a large stone that could not be removed by using any other type of procedure. I struggled and delayed this surgery for a very long time because I was afraid to have the procedure because during my last surgery (hysterectomy and lymph node removal) I developed mild lymphedema in both legs and right buttock areas. It is possible I have some in my abdomen but it is hard to tell. Anyway, the doctor cut four 1 inch incisions into my left abdomen and I have been having a hard time recovering. For some reason this feel different than my previous c section and hysterectomy incisions. At first they felt like they were burning, then as I healed the burning sensation lessened but the pain is still there. What can someone expect when they have surgery on an affected area? The wound itself is closed and appears to be healing on the outside; however I do feel a lot of scar tissue underneath. Pain seems much more than it should 2 ½ weeks out. Also, yesterday I had a MLD treatment, my therapist gently worked the abdominal area hoping to help, but today I’m even sorer and in more pain. Any insight would be most helpful and appreciated.


abdominal pain after surgery

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:29 pm
by suzeeq
Hi Lynn,

In my opinion, I would give your doctor's office a call and let them know what is going on. Do you have an elevated temperature? It's obviously good that your incisions are closed. Watch for any drainage. But just to be on the safe side, call the doctor.
Good Luck, Susan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:34 pm
by patoco
Hi Lynn :)

Super welcome to our family here :!: :!:

First, just want to say that I really do agree with what Susan said. Do contact our doctor and let them know about the pain your are having. Even after two weeks from having a procedure, there is still a chance of an infection.

Anytime there is a surgical procedure done that might damage/injure the lymphatics you run the risk of lymphedema. There are a number of men and women in our groups with leg and abdominal lymphedema from various surgeries.

One way you can tell if you are beginning to have lymphedema in the abdomen is by doingthe press finger test. If you press your finger into you ab and it leaves a dent, that would indicate lymphedema.

Last April when I was examined for all over lymphedema, this is one thing the doctor did. Also, there is a big big difference between fat tissue and tissue that is filled with fluid. The fluid tissue is going to be much firmer, much harder then any fat tissue.

It is also possible you are experiencing pain from the scar tissue and its effect or pressing of the nerves. Again, let the doctor know. But, I can tell you from the many surgical procedures I have done that this sort of pain was fairly common for me. Plus, the abdomen is much more sensitive to pain then say the legs are.

After the surgery, I'm not surprised that you might be sorer today after the therapy. Lynn, many lymphers report initial pain when a new area has mssage treatment. This will subside as treatment continues.

I hope this helps, let me know.

Best to ya!

Pat O

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:53 pm
by Section
Thanks for the warm welcome and for your quick responses. :D

No fever. I've been on antibiotics for four weeks, I just got off Sunday night. I will give my doctor another call tomorrow to give him an update on how I am feeling.

I've tried the finger test and it does not indent, however, my legs don't either and I know I have lymphedema. When I say don't indent I mean it does not leave an impression, rather the skin bounces back right away - the same way it does in my non affected limbs. Is that possible in stage 1? My leg measurements vary, but at my worst over a year ago I had a two inch difference in my upper thigh. Now, it is somewhere around an inch and more or less a feeling of fullness and a slight visual difference in the right buttock. Could it be because I'm in stage 1 and have been getting at least one MLD treatment per week for the past 1 1/2 years? Just curious.

EDIT ... I've had MLD treatments for almost 2 1/2 years not 1 1/2.


PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:26 am
by patoco
Hey Lynn :)

With what you are describing, it definately sounds like lymphedema. With that kind of size difference and having it occur after the procedures, it simply couldn't be anything else I could begin to think of.

And...yes...if you have been getting MLD once a week for that long you probably have kept it from getting worse.

To me that's super and a big congrats :!: :!: Keep up that good work. :wink:

In early lymph you may have transient swelling and no indentation. Later in stage one, it wil start indentation and goes from there. Finally, in stage three the limb just becomes so hardened that it no longer dents.


PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:43 am
by Section
Pat -

Thanks for your reply; it is wonderful to have a place to come to where other people can understand the struggles of lymphedema.

Is it possible for lymphedema to remain in this transient period, or will it definitely progress? I have had this condition for almost 3 years now. To manage it, I have professional MLD at least once a week, wear 30/40 compression if I'm going to be on my feet a lot that day, and occasionally wrap at night with a Jovi and/or bandages if I see any swelling.


PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:07 pm
by patoco
Hey Lynn :)

I wish I could give you a firm yes or no on lymphedema remaining transientory. From what I have seen, it can remain that way for many years and then unexpectedly become very active.

As I indicated in my earlier post, with you doing all that you are, I would say you have a really great chance that you can keep it from progressing.

I do know of others doing pretty much the same as you are doing that have been stable for a very very long time.

Oh, one other thing you might think about including is water exercise. Fantastic for lymphedema. The gentle pressure of the water acts much like the massage is moving fluids.

Pat O :wink: