Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Back Surgery and breathing problems
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Back Surgery and breathing problems

My husband had spine surgery last week, chest xrays were normal before surgery, no breathing problems, but now has come home on oxygen full time because the surgeon says he has copd.  How can this be?  Could they have collasped a lung or something.  Hes not coughing, no fevers, no spitting up anything, just low 02 stats.  With the oxygen on is still only about 91.  Please help.
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One can have COPD with a seemingly normal chest x-ray.  Post-surgical pain can restrict chest movement.  This can result in the need for oxygen until the pain has gone.  This is more likely to happen in a person with COPD, even if the COPD was not previously diagnosed.  However, there are many other reasons for a low oxygen level after surgery.  This includes clots to the lung, pneumonia, lung collapse etc.  Your husband should have this evaluated as soon as possible by his doctor, starting with a repeat chest x-ray.
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Did your husband receive any of the following pain medications:
Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Roxicodone, Oxicodone, Percocet, OXY-CONTIN, MORPHINE
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Sounds like you & hubby need & deserve more info & explanation from the hospital & surgeon.  Ask your hubby's family doctor to speak with the surgeon if you can't get answers from the surgeon directly.  You should also ask that your husband be promptly referred to a pulmonologist for follow-up treatment and to figure out why he is having trouble keeping his saturation levels up without supplemental oxygen.  

In the meantime, please help your husband avoid all lung irritants, especially smoke & cigarettes.  

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