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fluid buildup maybe

cindygodfrey2
Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2012

Good morning. I am taking my husband to the doctor today, sometime. He is 10 days post op today. He has an area of hard induration around his main surgical incision along with redness and warmth. Unfortunately when he stands up he has a bulge around that area as well. I am thinking it is fluid. I wondered why they didn't put a drain in and was wondering if any of you post op came out with a drain.
Hope you all have a beautiful day...will give you an FYI update later.

cindygodfrey2
Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2012

Back from the doctor. He said it looks like a combination of the above. Doc said that there is cellulitis (inflammation of the skin) around the incision, fluid buildup about the size of a volleyball and possibly a hernia. Put him on antibiotics and said if the fluid doesn't go down by Saturday, he will meet us at the ER and assess it again.

Hope you all have a very Happy Easter!

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Cindy, this is very familiar ground for all of us, being absolutely standard. Funnily enough, I noticed yet another, new, incision behind my waist just today. We reckon it was where I had a drain in from Friday until around Monday or Tuesday. The induration, redness and warmth are all to be expected but if the redness and warmth are very marked it would be a good idea to have a check for infection (and antibiotics if necessary).

There is endless discussion of "the bulge", which is also known as "the healing ridge". I had a 9-10 inch main incision in December and was seeing the bulge slowly disappear. On Friday, they opened me up on the same cut again and so I'm back to bulging more and doubtless have more nerve and muscle damage :(

This is not related to fluid retention and there's a pretty good exploration of the bulge on a thread called:
"Has anyone seen my waistline?"
which you'll currently find on page 3 or can reach via this url:
http://csn.cancer.org/node/235389

The most notable case of fluid build-up and drainage stents we've had recently has been a fireman "flatlander" who dealt heroically with a persistent fluid problem. You'll see a picture of his torso, with drain-tube, and much discussion here:
http://csn.cancer.org/node/231512

[If you don't know how to access the addresses I've given, please let us know, so someone can explain how.]

We haven't heard from our lovely Lisa lately and where, I wonder, is flatlander - I so hope he's doing fine.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Our above messages crossed. Glad you've got the lowdown but sorry Hubby is having such a hard (and bulging) time. Could he have been discharged too soon? Has he, maybe, been overdoing it physically and set himself back?

cindygodfrey2
Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2012

Incision kept leaking fluid....called surgeon....met him at the er.....he removed staples of main incision and all the fluid came out at once...now it is packed and dressed.....will take longer to heal but releasing the pressure of the fluid has made pain decrease substantially ...life continues on.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Were you give any explanation of the cause of the fluid accumulation and whether it might recur?

cindygodfrey2
Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2012

Just because there is more fat In the area he developed a serutoma (fluid tumor)?sp? The incision is now left open to heal so there wont be another issue of buildup.....just lots of dressing changes and a longer healing time. "Healing by secondary intention".... I think that is what it is called...tough mentally to know you have a gaping hole and of course more chance for infection.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

That's really cutting the Gordian Knot! The "gaping hole" sounds pretty dramatic and obviously they think repeated fluid build-up is to be avoided. It's a pity flatlander isn't on hand to give you the benefit of his experience. Aside from taking great care over infection, has there been any other advice? (I wonder, e.g. whether it's useful to ensure a good intake of relevant micronutrients to help hold infections at bay.)

Apparently seromas like this are fairly common after abdominal surgery and sometimes take a few weeks to clear up. Are they using pressure dressings? It must be annoying to have an extra added in ti the usual recovery phase, but I guess it just means a little more time. Do give him my best wishes.

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