Right thoracotomy

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dlraff

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Jul 14, 2014
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Illinois
Anyone here had a right thoracotomy, and if so how long did you have muscle and nerve pain just below the surface of the skin?
 

Aggie85

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Jun 6, 2014
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Woodbridge, Va. USA
Mine was full sternal incision, but my "incision" pain, the muscles not the actual incision, lasted almost 5 months. Yep, just recently finally eased off. Still some bone pain when settling in to sleep at night. It kept feeling like someone was trying to pull my chest out through my back with just a hint of twisting for extra fun. Part of each of my breasts is still numb tingly feeling. .... Here's what may be relevant to you, what finally was the turning point in the whole pain journey was when I switched to using Votalen (an NSAID like Naprosyn) instead of Tylenol for pain control. I'm on regular use of Voltaren to deal with chronic plantar Facitis but had not been taking it initially after surgery because of the Coumadin. Once we got the Coumadin stabilized and my PF pain was returning because was getting off the narcotics, I went back to using the Voltaren to control the PF pain. Within a couple of days, I noticed a HUGE change in the level of chest incision discomfort I was having. I suspect the anti-inflammatory aspect was what helped my chest. If allowed, you may want to talk to one of your Dr.s about trying an NSAID for a short while and see if that helps.

Congrats on joining us on the far side of surgery and hope you feel better soon! Linda
 

dlraff

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Jul 14, 2014
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Illinois
Thanks Linda. I'm using ibuprofen and it doesn't seem to be enough. I'm going to ask my doctor about trying an NSAID.
 

epstns

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Ibuprofen IS an NSAID. Talk with your doc about the appropriate dosage, though. The over-the-counter tablets are 200 mg, and IIRC, the max recommended daily dosage is 2400 mg. Thus, if you are trying to get relief with the over-the-counter tabs, you may need more than 2 at a time.
 

dlraff

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Illinois
I was thinking of something like Aleve; of course you're right epstns - ibuprofen is an NSAID. I get so confused: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, what the differences between them are. My doctor said 2400 mg max per day for two weeks, then reduce it to 1800 mg max per day. I've actually been taking 1600 mg a day, 2 tablets every 4 hours, 4 times a day. It seems to work OK during the day but not in the evening when the pain intensifies. And I’m getting headaches in the evening also. Just trying to figure out what works so my evenings aren’t so miserable!
 

Harley2000

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Jul 26, 2012
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Location
Exeland, WI
I had this procedure for an Aortic valve replacement and a Mitral valve repair. The surgeon called it minimally invasive but now I see it is called a thoracotomy or Minimal Incision for AVR and/or MVR.
I don't remember any pain in the area of the incision after leaving the hospital. Stopped taking anything other than regular prescriptions soon after getting home.
I do feel a twinge in the muscle sometimes when taking a deep breath. Maybe a nerve was cut when incision was made but I wouldn't call it a pain.
Surgery was 2 years and 2 months ago.
Mike
 

Blair

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Mar 20, 2014
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Location
Georgia
I had a right thoracotomy for mitral valve repair 4 1/2 months ago. I would get an occasional shooting pain near the numb area. I assume it's the nerves trying to regrow. It's not bad and happens less often as the weeks go by. Discomfort in the muscle itself is another story. There is a firmness in the center of the muscle and it can be quite painful if I bump into or lean against something. There has been an improvement over time, but that seems to have stopped about a month ago. Will ask the doc about that when I see him in three weeks. I have also been curious how the thoracotomy experience went for other folks.
 

dlraff

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Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
11
Location
Illinois
Thanks Blair. I’m just 5 weeks post-op and get the impression that this pain is going to be around for some time. I assume also it’s muscles and nerves. And being female, the pain is located in my right chest just below the surface of the skin. Even my clothes touching the skin makes it hurt. My pain is worst in the evenings no matter how much or how little I do during the day. On cardiac rehab days I dread when evening comes. I’m only taking ibuprofen; sometimes it seems to help, but not so much in the evening. If it really hurts by the time I go to bed I take a Tramadol.
 
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