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  • slupher
    Member
    Post count: 4

    I had spinal fusion surgery 11-5-13 t4 to pelvic. My back is actually doing good. What is bothering/hurting me the most is my upper L abdominal distension. I contacted my surgeon and at first they said it was because of the long surgery and the pain meds I was talking. I only take 1 Norco a day now and I am still having problems. Surgeons office said in Dec to contact my GP, which I did and he referred me to a GI. I have had a Cat scan and abd x rays and yesterday a gastroscopy and they said nothing is wrong to give it time. I’m at the end of my rope, the pain and pressure around my ribs is getting unbearable. I can only eat small amounts at a time and the pressure still builds up. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you
    Shelley

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8652

    You do not mention if the approach was posterior or anterior (through the belly) or both. After any big surgery, you can develop an ileus, a temporary paralysis of the intestines. This condition typically disappears within a week.

    Pain and pressure around the ribs can originate from intestinal disorders but don’t forget that nerve irritation can also cause this. If you had a thoracic surgery with correction of deformity, nerve stretch or even instrumentation stenosis (a screw irritating a nerve root) can also cause this.

    Check the sensation around your chest and abdomen. If there is a numb patch or a very irritable and sensitive band of skin in or around the area of your abdominal pain, this could be nerve irritation.

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    slupher
    Member
    Post count: 4

    The approach was posterior. This has been going on since December.

    Yes there is a numb patch in the area of the abdominal distension, if this is nerve irritation about how long should I expect it to continue and is there anything that can be done for it.

    Thank you for your reply
    Shelley

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8652

    This is most likely abdominal wall paresis (lack of abdominal wall muscle ability to contract) from either nerve stretch or nerve compression. The thoracic spine contains all the nerves that cascade down to the belly to supply the muscles here. One nerve that is injured will do exactly what you have experienced, a band of weakness and a bulge of the abdominal wall along a descending band.

    There are two things that you can do. One is to have a CT scan of the thoracic spine to see if a screw is out of place and irritating a thoracic root. The other is simply to wait and see if this nerve will heal. See the section on “Nerve Damage and Healing” to understand how nerves heal.

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
     
    Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.
    slupher
    Member
    Post count: 4

    Thank you very much for the suggestions. I will check with my surgeon about checking on the screws.

    Thank you again
    Shelley

    slupher
    Member
    Post count: 4

    Just a quick note to let you know I contacted my Ortho surgeon and he said that the symptoms and pain that I’m having has nothing to do with my surgery and to see the GI DR or my family DR. So I’m pretty much stuck in limbo. But I thank you and appreciate your help

    Shelley

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