I am 4 days post laparoscopy to remove my left ovary. Yesterday I went to the doctor because the right side of my abdomen is swollen yet there was no incision or surgery on the right. If I press on the right side of my abdomen from my groin to half way up my ribs, there is a feeling of crunchiness or styrofoam under the skin. It is also VERY painful. In fact, it is much more painful than any of the incisions or the left side of my abdomen and is quite painful when I try to get up or down or use my abdominal muscles.
The doctor described this as crepitus and explained that the gasses they fill my body with for surgery was absorbed into a layer of my skin. I got the impression this is rather rare because she called her nurse prac. in to feel it. She wasn't really sure how long it would last but was confident it would be eventually absorbed.
I'm not sure how this happens but I was hoping someone might have experienced this and might be able to tell me how long it might last.
I figured I'd update this in case I can help anyone else in the future.
Now I am nine days post op and the crepitus has decreased in "crunchiness" but has not completely gone. The right side of my abdomen is still tender to push on it and the bottom of my ribs are still sore. My groin area is still a tiny bit swollen. The pain from this trauma has decreased but is still more painful than the left side of my body where the surgery was.
I have done a little research and it's called subcutaneous emphysema and it occurs with laparascopy but is very rare. Lucky me.
I have had two surgeries in the last year and both times I had crepitus in my chest, neck, face, scalp, arms and hands. The first time it lasted about 10 days, the last time only about 5 days. Even though the doctors and nurses acted like it was no big deal, it was to me. I didn't like being "crunchy" and it really did hurt! Especially in my chest. I also had broken blood vessels in my left eye and the first doctor said that the crepitus "centered" in my eye sockets. It makes me worry about whether anything, especially my eyes, were damaged by this. I hope you are doing better and I'm so glad you shared! I felt like I was the only one. Since it happened to me twice, I wonder if it will happen to you if you have another surgery. I wonder why we are among the rare few. Hmmm!
Well in doing my research, it seems that there are two reasons why this happens. One is based on the doctor putting the air into the abdomen wrong. And she admits that's what happened to me. The tube was angled too much and some went into my skin layer instead of the abdominal cavity.
Another reason is that if the surgery is prolonged, the gas has more time to be absorbed into the layers of the skin.
I spoke to another healthcare professional about long term side affects too because the right side of my lower abdomen still seems swollen (where the crepitus was the worst). She insisted that there would be no long term damage. The only time they worry about it is when the carbon dioxide (they gas they use) starts being absorbed by your blood and you become poisoned by it.
I am curious as to what surgeries you had. How do the gasses reach your the rest of your body like that? And your eyes? I find that very curious! May be you could go to an eye doctor to get his opinion and have your eyes checked just to reassure yourself. Did you have it in those places both times?
And yes, they do think it's no big deal and I'm pretty sure they think it's funny. I wonder if they have ever had it. Hopefully I will never have to find out if it will happen to me again but I think that's a good question. Are some people more susceptible to it than others? I'll let you know if it happens again.
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