Accidental suturing of SCM muscle during ACDF

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  • Cynthialrn
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    I’m hoping you can help by giving me some info to put my mind at ease or put me on the path to a remedy. 6 weeks ago (3/29/18) I underwent an ACDF of C5-6. Immediately afterwards I noticed that my sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) on the side of the incision was extremely tight, to the point of protruding visibly, especially when I tilted my head backwards. It pulls on my incision. I thought time would improve it but it hasn’t. It’s been 6 weeks now & it’s still just as tight & is visible in contrast to the opposite side. It’s not exactly painful but it is quite uncomfortable, as it pulls on the entire area around it it seems. It’s extremely taut & is more prominent when I bend my neck back & it’s also very hard. I don’t think this is muscle spasms for many reasons. One is that it never improves & another is that spasms are generally painful. My very first inclination was that she somehow sutured it to the skin on closure. Since then I’ve looked online to find only one incident even remotely like this in which someone had a similar problem after a facelift. The MD answering that post suggested, as I had already thought, that the MD went too deep with a suture. So, with that in mind I called my surgeon’s office and asked if she used dissolvable sutures and was told that she did. My question now is this: how long do these sutures take to dissolve & will dissolving solve this issue or will the fact that it was sutured to something have caused adhesions making the problem permanent? Thank you!

    Dr. Corenman
    Moderator
    Post count: 6086

    I would imagine that the SCM can be sutured to the platysma muscle when the platysma is re-approximated when closing the incision. If so, your current complaints would be prominent. Suture generally takes six weeks to dissolve (if dissoluble suture was used). The problem is that adhesions can occur which can fix the SCM muscle to the skin or platysma. I would advise seeing your surgeon as the fix should be quite simple as both these muscles are right under the skin edge. It would require another procedure but this could be performed under sedation.

    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.
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