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Thread: questions about proposed surgery to relieve edema

  1. #1

    questions about proposed surgery to relieve edema

    Hi ther,e

    If you'll recall, I'm the one whose faqther-in-law has the c4/5 edema trauma in Greece. Last week he was able to breathe on his own long enough to perform an MRI which showed a large edema at the site. The day after, unfortunately, he contracted some kind of viral infection and was put under for five days. Tests showed that his bowels and kidneys are now starting to go. They woke him up yesterday and now he has no sensation to his arms or hands anymore.

    The doctors said the MRI shows that he has a very narrow canal around the spine, due to age most likely. They are saying that they can perform another surgery to essentially open up that canal in the hopes that that will help his edema go down.

    My question is this - is it likely that this surgery will do anything more than just traumatize him more? From what I've read, the likelihood of recovery after three and a half weeks of no sensation is minimal, and another invasive procedure just seems cruel at this point. Also, I haven't been able to find anything on this kind of surgery and am wondering if it's common or has been performed with any success. My fil is 70, and was in good health before this injury. However, now he's still not stable, still in ICU, and is requiring the vent to breathe again, his progress before getting sick has halted. Any ideas??

  2. #2
    Bump. Maybe if it's posted in Care, it'd get more views.
    Daniel

  3. #3
    There is always the possibility taht the surgery might not help or even make it worse. But, if the doctors think it might help- ask them & get a claer picture. Is he on any anti edema medications?
    any other tests planned?


    CWO

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by penelope13
    Hi ther,e

    If you'll recall, I'm the one whose faqther-in-law has the c4/5 edema trauma in Greece. Last week he was able to breathe on his own long enough to perform an MRI which showed a large edema at the site. The day after, unfortunately, he contracted some kind of viral infection and was put under for five days. Tests showed that his bowels and kidneys are now starting to go. They woke him up yesterday and now he has no sensation to his arms or hands anymore.

    The doctors said the MRI shows that he has a very narrow canal around the spine, due to age most likely. They are saying that they can perform another surgery to essentially open up that canal in the hopes that that will help his edema go down.

    My question is this - is it likely that this surgery will do anything more than just traumatize him more? From what I've read, the likelihood of recovery after three and a half weeks of no sensation is minimal, and another invasive procedure just seems cruel at this point. Also, I haven't been able to find anything on this kind of surgery and am wondering if it's common or has been performed with any success. My fil is 70, and was in good health before this injury. However, now he's still not stable, still in ICU, and is requiring the vent to breathe again, his progress before getting sick has halted. Any ideas??
    Penelope,

    I am very sorry that I did not see your post earlier. Your father's doctors are probably feeling quite desperate with the cord swelling and a narrow spinal canal. It is hard to know whether it would help. The fact that he is showing additional neurological losses is worrisome and a laminectomy/decompression may help.

    What is the cause of his kidney and bowels "starting to go"? When you say that he was "put under for five days", do you mean that he was put into barbiturate coma to reduce the swelling? Do you know whether they used methylprednisolone?

    How is he now?

    Wise.

  5. #5
    Thank you for your response. Yes, he was put into a coma for several reasons (though I'm not sure whether they used the drug you referred to)- one that his breathing seems to improve when he is under. As well, the hope that the swelling would be reduced. When he awakened from that coma he had lost the movement he had in his arms prior to going under.

    Last week, they put him in another coma in order to perform a colonoscopy.He is suffering from bloating, his fluid output is not matching his input via IV, and there was blood in his stools. They performed a colonoscopy which did not show trauma to the intestine. Rather, they believe the blood is a result of the cortisdoids he is on to reduce swelling.

    Unfortunately, three days ago, he suffered heart failure. They rescusciated him immediately but he is still in a coma.
    I have been reading that the heart failure could be due to an irritant, perhaps with is bowels. We really don't know what else to expect. It seems like with every iota of progress there has been a huge step backwards in some other area. It's been 35 days, he is still in ICU with no indication of what comes next. They are hoping he will wake up tomorrow (they have been reducing the barbituate levels).


    Penelope

  6. #6
    Thee are several drugs depending on the reason they want to sedate him. The research shows that the coma,or deeply sedated state, reduces the oxygen need and demands in the brain and other organs and total relaxation - kind of like giving everything a vacation.
    The corticosteroids can cause intestinal bleeding- that is a common complication. Unfortunately, aggressive, high tech treatment is needed and it can have its problems.
    It does seem like they are on top of things.
    I am sure he is still critical right now but hopefully tomorrow you will have some good signs for a good outcome.


    CWO

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