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How Long Is Your Scar/Incision for those with Open Nephrectomys

Tesla1
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2017

I see in the literature that there is a newer mini-flank incision of 3-4 inches but I believe mine will be about 7 when I have the surgery on April 6. Anyone get the mini-flank version?

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

Only 7 inches? Mine is bigger than yours!!!

My scars from the laparoscopic surgery were actually quite small. There is a 3 inch cut (on the side between ribs and hip) where the kidney was removed, a 1 inch cut nearby where the drain (I think) was inserted plus 3 small spots.

The emergency laparotomy that immediately followed the 'keyhole' surgery resulted in a 9.5 inch midline cut from sternum to below the navel.  Or maybe it was a keyhole for a very large key... The key to survival, as it turned out!

Anyway... This is not really what you were asking about, but I felt like bragging.

I bet 20 other people now chime in to tell us how much bigger and better their scars are.

Steve.

PS: Everything is healing beautifully and the cut near my navel seems to have fixed my mild umbilical hernia. My innie will remain an innie!

 

Tesla1
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2017

What a great attitude Steve. I can hear a swaggar in your writings.

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

I actually feel very lucky, happy, and grateful to everyone here, everyone at the hospital, my family and the universe in general.

The leaking artery after the first surgery was bad luck, but everything else went brilliantly.

I feel great.

Steve.

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2014

I had an open partial. My scar is under 5 inches. Maybe 4? And fading fast, barely visible.

Tesla1
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2017

One factor of incision length would probably be someone's gender or size. I would think somebody that is 6 foot six is going to have a longer incision than someone who is 5 foot two.

lobbyist0724's picture
lobbyist0724
Posts: 398
Joined: Sep 2016

I had an open partial 6 months ago and incision about 6 inches long, scar is fading too.

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 921
Joined: Feb 2009

So what is the real concern about how long it is?  I was so glad they could open me up and get the first surgery done that I didn't care it was 14" long.

And each succeeding one was 4" over the top of the others.  As the scars age, they get much less visible and seem to shrink and blend in.

There is so much more to be concerned with in life than a little or even big scar.

Good luck, no matter what happens.

donna_lee

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

That makes you our winner, so far, even if size is not important...

Steve.

DAC677's picture
DAC677
Posts: 60
Joined: Feb 2017

I have a trip to St. Martin planned in May. this will be my first public outing of a huge scar. Should i wear a T shirt everywhere? Should i lather it in sunblock and have that whole section turn white? Will it burn faster? Or maybe Ill just get a zipper tattooed at the top of it.

Tesla1
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2017

I'm trying to get an idea of how Advanced my surgeon is. Is there a correlation between the length of the incision and the skill of the surgeon? I don't know. Just thinking out loud.

mlph4021's picture
mlph4021
Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2016

Is about 4.75 inches long, straight line from my belly button down. My tumor was about 11 cm (4.3 inches) in every direction. I am still amazed that he was able to go in from that point and remove such a large tumor and my kidney through that opening. He said it was not easy and the way it was in there gave him a little trouble. He did not know prior to opening me up if they could do it with the smaller cut or would need to really open me up. You can see in the MRI how my liver was folded over the top of the tumor and he wans't sure if it was "stuck" to my duodenum. Thankfully, it wasn't. 

Deanie0916
Posts: 262
Joined: Nov 2016

between the length of the incision and the skill of the surgeon. I would think that the length of the incision depends on where and how they had to access the kidney/tumor. Mine is about 10 inches long, six month out from an open nephrectomy. I am doing well. I am sure you will do fine.

Retcenturion's picture
Retcenturion
Posts: 240
Joined: Mar 2017

 I am sooo glad people are posting questions I have before surgery.Between the Appendix Scar and the Hernia scar that is now the bellybutton... I can't wait to see what this Dadbod is gonna look like? Gonna need to make plans for post op trip that requires alot of clothing!!

Skagway Jack's picture
Skagway Jack
Posts: 221
Joined: Oct 2013

Mine was right side front extending from 2 inches under my sternum laterally and down for about 9 inches.  Three  + years out it still itches occasionally.  Reminded me some of the scene in Jaws where they are comparing scars.

Jack

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

If you're going to have a scar you might as well have one that makes you look tough with your shirt off.

At least they can make us seem more interesting.

i should make up some stories in case any kids ever ask...

"I was on this space ship and I had this alien growing inside..."

"I know all about power tools, so just shut up ab....."

Steve.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I think worrying about an incisions length is ridiculous. What's next? Rescheduling surgery to not miss a hair appointment? Don't new people understand how serious this is? How vain. Every time this subject comes up I want to slap someone. Maybe I missed the memo where it says having an open nephrectomy incision means life isn't worth living and is worse than having cancer itself.

I worked with a woman named Rita. She refused a leg amputation after being dx'd with leg cancer.  The surgeons did their best to save her limb. Several times over several weeks. Trim here, cut there. Wounds became extensive. We did daily debridement in the whirlpools behind a curtain because she refused to look. One day the surgeon came in, knocked down the barrier and she saw the mangled meat and bones exposed. She became hysterical. Reality hit her hard. She now knew she made the stupidest decision and it would cost her her life.

I visited her bedside that afternoon as she was also a friend who worked in the hospital. She wanted me to help her decide what to do. "Give it to me straight," she says. It seems the thought of disfigurement and needing a "fake" leg bothered her. As she lay in bed wearing only her johnny, I looked at the woman we all knew as "Lovely Rita." I said, " Rita, Why does it bother you so much? Every morning you would get ready before work. You would pull up your girdle. Then your uplift bra. Support hose. Then put in your dentures, paint your lips, apply makeup to your face and eyes. Then work on your beauty parlor dyed hair. I said that almost nothing about your appearance was real or natural. So what is the difference?"

She had the amputation the next morning. We began pre-prosthetic training. She would get up early and do her hair, make up and looked forward to her recovery. The day her prosthesis arrived she died from osteosarcoma. All because of vanity.

Excuses like, "I will heal faster, or similar rational is BS. I think people concerned about incision length shouldn't be allowed to make any health decisions because they totally do not comprehend what is at stake.

Sorry that I have insulted people. But with our recent deaths, every stage 3 or stage 4 patient fighting for their lives, would place concerns about the length of their incision at dead last. 

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

I can see you feel strongly about this and I agree with you, but which post are you reacting to?

Tesla's original question was only to find out if anyone had had a 'mini flank' incision. 

If there's any vanity there it is hiding deep between the lines.

Steve.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

not pickin on tesla. I know that wasn't what she asked. I was approached by another who I think is being mis-managed. her urologist intimated that he will follow her. He implied that "she doesn't want a big old gut incision." So she agreed. Next thing I know is she spent a week in icu on a vent. Sure he will follow her.  To her grave. This hits a nerve with me because prior to my cancer dx, I had my gall bladder removed through those nice small holes in my abdomen. If they had opened me up, they would have found my tumor, removed it at stage 1, and I wouldn't be here advocating for everyone else. This is not something to take lightly. I've made this comment before. I feel certain it has saved lives. Especially by raising doubts and as a result second opinions were sought. I don't want to see patients suffer based on bad advice by some doc using vanity as a sales pitch.

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

Maybe everyone should get a scan every 5 or 10 years.

My mother had a benign mass removed fom her kidney when she was about my age. Now that I have lso had a kidney tumour my sister is arranging to be scanned, just in case.  It seems sensible.

I told her that if she's lucky they'll find something... It didn't quite get across the way I meant it.

Steve.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I attended a very large biker party shortly after my nephrectomy. This campground pulls in thousands of bikers of every caliber. Some drunken troublemakers were trying to start some crap. One guy was hurling insults at everyone. Saying things like, "You ain't a real biker if you don't limp," and "Where are all your scars?"  When he got to me I lifted my shirt and displayed my long red healed incision. He screams, "You call that a scar? This is a scar!" He lifts his shirt to reveal train tracks left to right and bottom to top. With all his buddies behind him waiting for a response, I loudly said, "At least mine isn't from a hysterectomy!" His buddies nearly pissed their pants laughing at him. We probably shared a beer. That's how those things work out.

donna_lee's picture
donna_lee
Posts: 921
Joined: Feb 2009

I tried to be gentle on my earlier post about scars; You got in their faces!  Way to go you big bully.

It's Reality.  If surgeons would pose the question of, "would you prefer to live with cancer and probably die sooner, or have a scar?" they most likely would opt for the scar.

My father in law was adamant about not amputating his foot.  Oh, he had it when he died of heart disease caused by the osteomylitis in his tib-fib and ankle.  His quality of life for nearly 20 years was horrible, he spent months in cardiac units at OHSU, and was a really growly bear to even be around.

And it's always great when you can think of the perfect rejoinder at the time, instead of after you get home.

OK...go UCONN.

donna_lee

Dave418's picture
Dave418
Posts: 95
Joined: Aug 2014

Fox, you are right, a little bit rude, but right. Scar should be the last thing we worry about. Being and staying alive should be our only concern. 

I remember you responding to one of my first question on this forum about how long it would be before I could return to work. You response was direct, and was in the same way of your response here. It hit me, but that day, i stopped worrying about all that was non life threatening and manageable. It completely changed my point of view and i took all the time to heal correctly before returning to work, and it was the right thing to do. I never thanked you for it. So thank you Fox!! You may sound rude to some, but once we get your point, we understand why you are a pillar on this forum. 

pamstayner's picture
pamstayner
Posts: 111
Joined: Apr 2014

Vanity...actually it is a piece of furniture at sitting height, with a bench seat , a big mirror.  Size matters.  Surgeon skill vs length of incision.  Shirt off... flashing scars in a bar...

My day is made !  I will smile for hours.  I am just under 5 foot tall. Just under 5 ft. around.  I sure don't make my living showing off my abdomen.

My scar is from under my left chest side across to my right side, down mid right side then curves at my waist to left hip.  Yep, I was operated upon for my nephrectomy at a university hospital, and the resident was told the night before that he could practice his tummy tuck technique on the next patient in the OR.  When he gets there, it is not plastic surgery, its a nephrectomy.  He graduated. But was never asked to work plastic surgery again. !  It's not really true, but does match the humongus funny looking diaphram sausage lump that now graces my upper middle. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Pam

 

APny's picture
APny
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2014

I can't speak for Tesla of course but I don't think it was vanity that prompted the question. A later post said Tesla was just trying to get an idea whether the size of incision is indicative of the surgeon's skill. Would a more skilled surgeon would be able to acomplish it with a smaller incision? Or at least that's what I got out of it. I would think the size of the tumor and its location are a bigger factor but perhaps skill does play into it to some degree.

Tesla1
Posts: 46
Joined: Mar 2017

As a 55 year old married male, it wasn't about vanity at all. Just looking for more reassurance that my surgeon is as skilled as I believe him to be. My surgery is this Thursday, 4-6 and I'm getting anxious so please forgive any questions born from fear of what's about to happen.

Steve.Adam's picture
Steve.Adam
Posts: 460
Joined: Oct 2016

I have an idea that it's easier for surgeons if they have more room to move and it is easier for them to see.

No idea if there's anything in that idea.

Steve.

DAC677's picture
DAC677
Posts: 60
Joined: Feb 2017

My scar goes from almost my sternun almost to my hip. I think it was 48 staples. I could have miscounted, i was on drugs....lol

I never considered the lnegth of the scar on the outside as much as how many muscles and things were cut through on the inside. I was told that the nerves could take a year to fully heal and would give some odd sensations as they did.o

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