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Nerve Regeneration

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Posting on a Saturday night...sad isn't it? I know somewhere in my readings on these boards I saw something about the timing of nerve regeneration after surgery. I think it was around the 2 week mark? Mark is experiencing an increase in pain following several days just taking tylenol extra strength and looking at driving again. He is really zapped. It really is the two step forward one step back process. What is the accurate information regarding nerve growth following the trauma of surgery??

miccmill's picture
Posts: 248
Joined: May 2010

Glenn has some nerve weakness at the corner of his mouth. He's 4 weeks post neck dissection on Monday.
They told him this could take possibly 6 months to resolve.

His arm and shoulder didn't even "wake-up" for about 1.5 weeks. That's when he really started to feel the pain in that area. His physical therapist told him that was normal and he could expect to see improvement over the course of a few months.

His tumor was not involved with any nerves, blood vessels or muscle. That's just from the trauma of surgery.

He's got less pain in his shoulder now and doesn't take anything for it anymore. The stiffness and range of motion are getting a little better all the time.

delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

... but in my case, at least, there has been little to no nerve regeneration. I had a modified radical neck dissection Jan. 20, 2009. After surgery I noticed I couldn't open my mouth into an O -- the right side of my mouth, the side on which I had the surgery, wouldn't open as far as it should. My smile is also a bit lopsided.
The ENT who did the surgery told me I should regain the full use of my mouth about six months after surgery. It's now been 16 months and I haven't noticed any improvement.
Please keep in mind that we're all different, your mileage may vary, past performance is no indication of future results, etc.

--Jim, smiling crookedly in Delaware

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Kimba, Just a quick note to remind that he be careful with the Tylenol. Active ingredient is Paracetamol, often thought as harmless but you must not exceed the recommended dose at all as it can cause very serious liver damage. People often pop and extra one if the pain is really bad, and it can sometime get really bad, thinking no big deal. Never exceed the maximum dosage as there is not much room for error with Paracetamol. You should keep a log of when and how much meds were taken as it can be hard to keep track when things get chaotic.


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I am in the same boat with Jim, the nerve damage is so bad on the face and neck I can’t open my jaw more then ½ inch. If I do try to open any more then ½ inch the tongue goes numb and I an not able to speak. I don’t want to frighten you but these are the facts. Like Jim also said everyone is different and the side affects will not always be the same. I suggest early therapy to help, my doctors waited to long and so I have no chance to recover or get any move movement in the jaw.

All the best to you

Irishgypsie's picture
Posts: 333
Joined: May 2010

Had Surgery April 6th; so it's been about 6 weeks. Right neck resection; removed lymph node sac only. Still have numbness from Right ear lobe down to under middle of chin; but has improved slightly. The accessory nerve is affected the most from this type of surgery it controls motor movement from your trapezes muscle and shoulder blade. Go to the PT they should be able to give you some exercises. I have slight pain when I turn my head completely to the right; about 2/10 on pain scale. Am able to do light push up routine; doing sets of 10. Most important is getting the pt exercises with colored flex bands to exercise! Isometrics exercises help as well! My surgeon said 2-3 months for facial nerves and 6-8 months for trap/shoulder. But we all heal differently don't we! Good Luck!!

CajunEagle's picture
Posts: 397
Joined: Oct 2009

Just got off the phone with my daughter in Jacksonville, who is a Dr. of Physical Therapy, and I asked her about nerve regeneration. She says as a general rule......and everyone heals differently......it takes a nerve 1 month to regenerate or grow/repair itself 4 centimeters or 1.57 inches. She emphasizes that some nerves may never grow/repair themselves to what they were prior to damage. The analogy she gave is of a hose pipe that's being used to water a plant. If the pipe has a kink in it or is being stepped on, sooner or later the plant will die if the pipe is it's only source of water/nourishment. Various exercices or surgery can relieve the nerve (hose pipe) so as to allow growth on the nerve ending. I know that's a simplification, but seems to make sense. She also thanked me for her birthday present.....but y'all don't wanna hear all that blah...blah.


ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

I'm about 6 months post neck disection and there really is little to none of nerve regeneration. I still can't feel that side while shaving. I can open my mouth almost all the way and my mobility for driving is fine. The right shoulder took some time to get strong again , little by little with weight training. It still hurts to throw anything on that shoulder, like a bag of dog food to carry in the house, can't do it without pain. There is obviously some tissue missing on the right side compared to the left. I can definately see an indentation while looking in the mirror. But the facial part is quite numb still.

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Thank you everyone for your feedback. I find the doctors give us the general line of what to expect, here is where I go for the details. Mark has been given excercises by the swallowing therapist for his mouth and jaw, but nothing for his neck and shoulder. He carries himself in a cautious manner, he says he feels the need to protect that side, and he is very stiff. We have not been prescribed PT. At what point can that begin? On Wednesday he will be 2 weeks post neck dissection. We are in the prep period for chemo/rad. I, personally, am more anxious about that process than I was of the surgical process. (Anxious for him, and for myself, as the caregiver)

MaryRC's picture
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2010

It has been 8 weeks today since I had the modified neck dissection ( and it turned out I didnt have cancer at all, just a pilomatrixoma cyst) I am still having tightness, odd feelings, numbness. I returned part time to work( 2 days a week) and after those 2 days my surgery site was so very painful! I havent told my nursing supervisors yet about this. Work tomorrow and Thursday and see how it goes. I didnt lift but the child is 82 pounds and I have to drag her by her feet to the lift. I hurt for 4 days after that.
I am wondering if a persons neck will ever feel normal again after a dissection?

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

Mary, I'm so happy that you don't have cancer but I'm very, very sorry that they did surgery when you didn't need it. I pray your neck will go back to normal. I will keep you in my prayers.
God Bless,

Joel4's picture
Posts: 256
Joined: May 2010

Had left neck dissection just over 1 month ago. The smile is still crooked but at least I'm smiling. The left side of my face is still numb, shaving is a very strange experience, but there is some feeling returning there.
The shoulder has had its ups and downs. I have an 11 year old boy and 6 year old girl. I cannot say no to games of basketball with him and I have to pick her up and spin her around. The shoulder is returning to normal faster than the other areas and that may have to do with using it so much.
Today I was doing some weight lifting and I did alright.
I am in a very good place right now and I am giving the glory to God! Prayer and a positive attitude have been huge as has been my supportive family.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

That is remarkable to see you doing do good so soon after treatment, like my brother Kent always says Believe and all think are possible.

God bless

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