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Surgery Recovery ???

kimmygarland's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Aug 2009

I hate to keep posting all these questions, but I have searched the internet and can't find an answer. I realize I need to talk to the doctor about it, but am trying to save my questions for closer to surgery, so am hoping y'all can help.

My husband will be having modified radical neck dissection (one side only), plus they are taking out the tumor down the throat via the mouth and doing some work through the neck. There will be reconstruction with a flap in the throat. Surgery will last about 8 hours and he will likely come out with a trach for a few days due to swelling. He'll be in ICU for a few days, then hospital for a few more. Scheduled for 9/15.

I am trying to figure out what kind of recovery we can expect. If he's in the hospital for 7-10 days - and comes home, will he be able to stay home alone while I go to work the next week?? Will he need constant care for a couple of weeks?

We have no idea what to expect as far as recovery. Anybody had anything like this that could give us an idea of recovery??

THANK YOU so much.

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Kimmy,

I had my S1 tumor on the Left Tonsil removed through the mouth. The excision was sort of down into the throat including the Tonsil area. I was released after 4 days in hospital with some Panadol and Tramadol. I was rushed back in 16 hrs later in intense pain, almost to the stage of convulsions. They gave me a shot of Pethadine and that sorted out the pain. I was kept in another 5 days on various pain meds but did OK from then on except for the chronic constipation. They say the tonsil surgery is one of the most painful and it certainly was intense for a while there.

I think the pain is the main issue as with the tonsil excision, they can't really stitch anything up as they just cut it out and leave the open wound to heal which it does quickly. I recall eating soft foods or soups during that phase. The only other real issue was constipation as the pain meds, anaesthetic, lack or food going in, and being immobile all work against you. Try to have him get up and move around if possible and keep well hydrated, preferably by mouth if he can. I remember doing squats when I felt up to it to keep some movement.

Now, while many doctors discourage it, i had a colonic irrigation done when i got out of hospital the second time and I went from being a very sick person to being very well within a couple of hours. Put it this way, I was more or less carried in and after 45 minutes I bounced out. The toxins are trapped in the colon and your innards can cease up through lack of use so just watch that. If you do opt for this therapy, make sure it's a quality and licensed clinic and ask for an 'Open Irrigation'.

While I was in hospital, the Doctor foolishly gave me an oral 'Fleet-water' treatment which is a super laxative they use for people prior to gastric surgery. It is a heavy saline solution. Now imagine the gaping wound in my neck, and then downing a large glass of saline soup ! That experience almost sent me into shock. We then tried the 'Fleet-water' enema's, but they were ineffective. The bottom line is Doctors usually underestimate the effects of constipation and the combine toxic effect created by all the medications.

As for the neck dissection, while a bit scary, most have reported less pain and effect but I'm sure those who have been down that road will chime in.

If you want more info on the above, pls PM me whenever.



SASH's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Apr 2006

Here was my schedule:

Monday 7:30 am surgery prep
Monday 8:00 am surgery started (supposed to be 18 hours) Reconstruction surgeon had power bar with him as his lunch/dinner
Monday 3:00 pm woke up from surgery because only found scar tissue doing deep tissue biopsies.
Monday 9:30 pm sent to ICU
Tuesday morning - sitting in chair and back and forth to bed in ICU
Tuesday night around 6 pm - sent to private room
Wed - Sat - recovering in hospital, walking halls, getting nutrition from PEG.
Sat 2 am - Walking halls alone because nothing on TV and private duty nurse was snoring up a storm keeping me from sleeping
Sun 9 am - released from hospital

Someone was home with me for the first week but I was self sufficient with going to bathroom, getting cans of nutrition, etc. I rented a hospital bed as I found it easier to get in and out because I could adjust the angles and height. My flap was from my stomach so this made getting comfortable easier.

Insurance sent a home nurse 2x to check on incisions and healing process.

Wed - Back to hospital to have 56 staples removed.

We all heal differently and it also depends on the severity of surgery, overall health, mental capabilities, etc.

Talk to your husband and see how he feels about being home alone recovery versus having you hovering. When someone was home with me, they were on the other side of the house most of the time. I did have a bell so if I did need something when they were home, I was able to get their attention since I still couldn't scream.

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