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Spontaneous Pneumothorax
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Spontaneous Pneumothorax

On May 31, 2005, at 53 yrs old, female,  I had a VATS procedure with pleurodesis because my left lung had collapsed  2 times the previous week. It collapsed a third time in the hospital prior to surgery when the pleural fluid accidentally backwashed into my chest cavity and caused a clot and tremendous pain. I was very weak by the time the surgery was performed.  I have had CONSTANT severe pain ever since. I also have swelling on my left side on my ribs since the surgery.  It never went away. When I take a deep breath, I am in extreme pain.  I was told it was intercoastal nerve pain and have followed through with every possible suggestion I received to try to ease the pain.   I have tried Lyrica, gabapentin, trileptol, ultram, lidoderm patch, keppra, aspercreme and "pain break" which is a cream recommended for people who have nerve pain after having shingles.  I have tried acupuncture, Lidocaine shots, physical therapy - 2 sessions, gratson procedure, tens unit and exercise - Yoga and pilates - and I walk daily.  On the recommendation of my lung dr, I tried an Osteopathic Dr. without much success.   The worst pain is when I lie down.  I feel like a cinder block is on my chest.  I also feel the electrical shock feeling if my left side is slightly touched by clothing or touch. I feel some relief when I use an abdominal wrap at night so that when I toss and turn I
don't feel the pain as severe.I work full time and am very active.  I contacted a surgeon to cut the intercoastal nerve, but he recommended pain management which you can tell has not worked. Are there any ideas you have that can help me to elliviate some of the pain to make it more manageable?  I try to be strong and deal with it and I know am I a lucky person, but I would like
to be able to breathe normal without restriction due to the pain?  Any suggestions, ideas, help
you can offer me will be appreciated.

Thank you.

Tina

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Sounds like you have had some terrible pain and have coped with it very well, while enduring the litany of pain relief techniques, listed by you, below.  Assuming that the pain fibers reside in the intercostal nerves and that everything tried has not worked, destruction of the intercostal nerves, called ablation, may be your only choice.

There are reports of this being done in a variety of ways.  The citation below is for an article from the Department of Anesthesiology and Section of Pain Management, Emory University School of Medicine, 1364 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322.  Ultrasound-Guided Intercostal Nerve Cryoablation by Michael G. Byas-Smith, MD and Amitabh Gulati, MD, in Analgesia: Regional Anesthesia: Case Report, accepted for publication June 23, 2006.  The citation below is from the Departments of Surgery, Komatsu Municipal Hospital, Komatsu, Japan for an article about a different approach, used in this instance to alleviate post-“shingles” pain.  Use of endoscopic transthoracic sympathicotomy in intractable postherpetic neuralgia of the chest by Isao Matsumoto, Makoto Oda, Hiromoto Shintani in Chest, 2002 August, Volume 122, Number 2, pages 715-717.  You may want to share this information with your doctor, either for consultation or sharing of their expertise and experience with your doctors.

Good luck
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry to hear your having such a painful experience after your surgery. I had a mechanical pleurodesis  with wedge resection in 1995 after 2 collapsed lungs and 2 chest tubes, so I know what your going through..I had that pain for atleast 2 years after. to this day I do not like being touched on that side. (left side also) but I'm not in as much pain anymore.. I do still get times where I cant take a deep breathe and sometimes I feel like it happend again...who knows maybe parts of it still does.  I was wondering if you tried mineral ice? I use that stuff for just about everything. and it is "unlike" the other stuff. its blue, and stinky..but man does it work. just thought maybe that will help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for you response.  I have some home.  I wil try it tonight.!
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Avatar_f_tn
I know what it is like I 36 women, had 5 collapsed (left side) lung , 5 chest tubes, too.  2 surgeries, and also was and still am in pain since year 2000.  The pain it had to bare with at times, I know.
I have been on pain killers (many different kind), tried a spinal stemalator, i cry for those 5 days!
patches, steroid shots, nerve ablation ( which was worse then my lung surgery) ouch, ouch!
I even started to drink! So i can get alittle more sleep a night.  Well, I wish you luck, and if anything works for your pain, please share it with me!! :)  
Oh ya, I also have blebs on both my lungs, too. How special I am.
I also had other health problems like cancer, and ect......
But I learned I am strong and i am a fighter. And I am in controll on my world, now.  My husband don't like my atitude, but life is short and i am gonna live it my way!  I always say "live is to short, so live your life the way you want, and make the best of it, and find happiness & love
Take care!
:0
                            What more can we do about our pain, we ask!  Hopfully someone has the answer!
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