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Post Bypass Surgery Numbness
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Post Bypass Surgery Numbness

I had quintuple bypass surgery four weeks ago.  I am 52 years old, have never smoked, I weigh 159 pounds and I'm 5'11".  I've exercised my whole life, and I was told by my surgeon that this the surgery was due to genetics.

I guess I'm recovering well.  I am walking almost 3 miles a day now and hope to get back to work soon.  My question is about the numbness around the incision area as well as on my thigh where they took a vein.  Is this common?  How much longer will I have to put up with this?  Also, I have been having a lot pain around my shoulder blades...almost like a "stabbing" pain.  I'm taking Motrin to manage it, but it is annoying as hell!  I'm wondering if this is indiginous to my surgery OR if it is caused by how I am holding/carrying my head or from my posture.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Mikeway,

Thanks for the post.

Anytime you have a surgery, there is a disruption of the nerves in the area where the incisions were created. At 4 weeks, I would imagine you are still well in the healing period that the sensation you are feeling is normal. Additionally, open heart surgery places a great deal of stress on the chest wall (they cut it open). Again, thew shoulder pains you are feeling are within the realm of what wouldn't be surprising. I wouls discuss your symptoms with your physician who can monitor them over time to make sure they resolve.

good luck

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Avatar_n_tn
Sounds like you are making a good recovery.  The walking is very beneficial.  Keep it up!!

I had bypass surgery about 4 years ago and still have numbness to the left of my sternal incision.  It is only mildly irritating and most of the time I don't even notice it.  You still have a lot of healing to do.  Be patient.

The pain you are experiencing in your shoulders/neck could possibly be from the tortured position they place us in during surgery to get best access to our heart.  I had a 'stiff neck and shoulder pain' for about 2 -3 weeks but it slowly dissipated.  Perhaps you could ask you surgeon if he would approve a careful massage.  Some people report excellent relief from massaging the area.

I was fortunate and had only a 2" incision at the inside of my knee where they took the saphenous vein to use for bypass graft.  It throbs from time to time but is insignificant when considered in the scope of the surgery we experienced.  The benefit far out weights the downside.

Good luck.  Hope you continue with a smooth, full recovery.

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Avatar_n_tn
Mike,
    
     The numbness and shoulder pain is all very normal with bypass surgery. I had my quadruple bypass in October of 1996. I was only 42yrs old and yes it was hereditary. I had been suffering from blockages for quit some time before they diagnosed me while performing a cath.

      I found the numbness could take anywhere from 3 months to 1yr for me. You could be completely different then me when healing and heal faster or slower.

      Again the shoulder and back pain could take a while or with you may heal quickly. I still have a lot of trouble with my shoulders and back, but I think mine is now arthritic.  

      Mike give yourself time to heal. Your only 4 weeks post and its going to take a little longer then that. I wish you the best.

Sincerely,

Jack  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi-
I had a heart attack and quadruple bypass when I was 40  (I am 41 now).  I also had complications with bleeding from one of the grafts into my left lung.  I had surgery on my right lung the same time as my left lung.  I still have numbness around the incision sites (chest, knee, and right side).  I also had a stroke in the midst of all this and it left my right arm very weak.  I was having right shoulder pain that kept me awake at night.  Turns out I have a partially torn rotator cuff from all the surgery.  Before I started physical therapy, my neurologist wanted to make sure he wasn't overlooking anything else and ordered an MRI of my shoulder.
Every month is better than the last, I just expect things to be exactly the way they were before the heart attack.  I also exercised and am 5' 4" and under 110lbs.  Bad genes and being diabetic.
Be patient.  Check out your shoulder if it doesn't get better with time.  The shooting pains from nerves goes away, but takes a lot of time.
Good luck.
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