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New to CSN, recovering from partial nephrectomy

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Hello CSN & Partial Nephrectomy community.  I am recovering from a partial nephrectomy which took place at Methodist Hospital in Germantown, TN on March 20.  

My Dr. found the tumor (turned out to be renal cell carcinoma) on my left kidney during a follow-up to a kidney stone incident from early January.  In short, it was a very lucky kidney stone. 

Anyhoo... I have read quite a few posts from PN survivors and I am heartened to be part of such a brave, strong and caring community.

My surgery was open rather than laproscopic.  He made a 9 inch incesion on my side running from front to back, opended me up and built a ice slush bath in my body cavity for the kidney prior to cutting.

As for my recovery, it is going well.  The Dr. believes he was able to remove all of the tumor with margin.  It was about 4 cm, early stage, encapsulated with no spreading.  He is pretty sure that I will have no further issues from that cancer.  

I have not had any significant issues with respect to recovery.  The tissue around the incision is still pretty numb, but there is still some discomfort deeper inside.  That seems to be getting better every day.  I only took the oxy for a couple of days (minimal doses) and then large doses of ibuprofen.  

My only real concern, at present, is the wound site is a bit lumpy (mis-shapen) relative to my other side.  My Dr. says that it may never go back to completely normal due to the way tissue heals.

My question is what have other's experience in this regard.  How has the incision site heals after some time?

Thank you.

Andrew

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 3242
Joined: Jan 2010

Andrew,

My neph was almost 13 years ago before they were doing partials. I am not sure there is that much difference between  the two as far as recovery. We here so much on this board where people have difficult recoveries even from Stage 1 tumors. It is refreshing to hear cases like yours where things go as planned. As far as your incision being lumpy, that goes with the territory. It usually takes a year to reach its new normal.

 

 

Icemantoo

Jojo61's picture
Jojo61
Posts: 1310
Joined: Oct 2013

Welcome, Andrew! So glad to hear things went so well for you.

My incision was lumpy as well....the doctor advised me to massage the incision (once well healed) and it did help some!

Hugs

Jojo

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1966
Joined: Mar 2014

My experience was almost identical to yours. Partial, open, 3.5 cm, and mercifully contained to kidney (or so let's hope). My incision is a bit smaller at around 4 - 5 inches max. Recovery not very hard and only on oxys for a short time. However, do NOT use Ibuprofen as that's processed by your kidney. Use Tylenol which is processed by the liver. I also had what I call a "sausge" around the incision site and it was quite pronounced at first. Now a year later it's almost back to normal. So your "misshape" may go away also. Glad you found us and hope you continue to good health.

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Thank you Apny.

I did not realize that regarding Ibuprofen.  I will definitely back off that.  I'm mostly off pain meds anyway, but will try Tylenol or low dose of oxy if necessary.

 

Thank you.

 

Andrew

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Thank you Jojo.  I have been using a message wand on my abdomen... mostly the belly area.  That area, rather distant from the incision site, is oddly irritated. (I suppose from the retraction of tissue to widen the opening?)  I have used it a bit on the incision, but it still feels kinda weird.  But, I'll step that up.

Thank you.

 

andrew

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Thank you Icemantoo.  Yes, I am lucky that they now do partials.  I feel that I am still ahead of the game with 1 3/4 kidneys left.  

 

a

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 919
Joined: Feb 2009

All for open incisions.  I don't know that any one healed better than the other.  Some people tend to form keloid tissue (estra scarring).  incisions  did tend to stay pink and raised for at least a year.  Now they are all just a faint line.

Bio Oil helps keep the skin soft(er). Talcum powder works to dry your skin if there are no open wounds. Wear clothing that is wicking to keep moisture off the skin; and/or non irritating fabric.  Warm showers followed by a cool off shower help-as the hot water causes a histamine reaction in the skin  Itching may occur, as it still does with me 9 years later.  But I'd rather have the itch than the cancer.

Happy recovery.

Donna

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

They used glue for my incision.  (It looked more like tape to me, but... .)

 

The Dr. used the term rope to describe the material they sewed my kidney up with.  (Sounds as bad as glue to me!)

 

I will try some of the products you mention.

 

Thank you.

 

Andrew

 

 

Jan4you's picture
Jan4you
Posts: 1322
Joined: Oct 2013

Hello and welcome here Andrew!

Sorry about your RCC and all, but you are now on your way to recovery!

I would ask about whether you can take Ibruprofin or not. Those of us who has radical or the whole kidney removed can not for the rest of our lives. It is too difficult for only one kideny to metabolize.

So since you still have two kidneys, why not ask? Sometimes NSAID or ibruprofin type meds are not recommended for healing purposes, but you can take it later. Again, check with your surgeon.

I also used a lumbar/velcro wrap and put dry ice paks inside where the incision was to help with swelling and healing. Didn't need the stronger meds after first few days. Everyone is different.

Continue your healing in good recovery, I hope!

Let us know how you are doing okay?

My tumor was a little over 4cm too.

I and my remaining kidney are doing just fine!

 

Warmly, Jan

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Thank you Jan.

 

I am backing off the ibuprofen for now (until Dr. advises otherwise).  At this point, the pain is minimal anyway.

 

Things seem to be going great so far.

 

Thank you!

 

Andrew

 

Footstomper's picture
Footstomper
Posts: 1238
Joined: Dec 2014

They used stapled for my 12 inch incision. I was so disappointed they didnt sew me up and give me the full Frankenstein!

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Yeah, the old cross stitches definitely give one a little horror movie panache.  

 

Since mine is a relatively straight crease, I'll just say it was a pirate broadsword on the high seas.

 

andrew

 

aamdsi
Posts: 284
Joined: Apr 2014

Had the same, open partial, little over a year ago.  Incision was funky for awhile (I was worried about it too). It "gets better" as time goes on.  Massage it as others have suggested.  Mine now is just a thin red line, 8" long.  Still numb all around it though.

Mav1969a's picture
Mav1969a
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2015

Thin line like mine... yes go with the pirate broadsword explaination above.

 

a

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