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3 months post-op and VERY concerned

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  • 3 months post-op and VERY concerned

    New to this forum. Wish I had found it before my surgery. Had no idea about different methodolgies, mesh materials, etc. I was given no information by my surgeon (head of surgery at a big hospital, specializing in hernia repairs). I figured I was in good hands.

    I went in for a right indirect inguinal hernia ("small") and umbilical hernia. Surgery was done laparoscoply. During surgery, doctor found a "small" left inguinal surgery and repaired it.

    About 3 weeks into the recovery process, I was sore, but doing OK and while sitting I sneezed and immediately felt a very intense burning sensation on the left side, inside of thigh. Getting into bed, and in and out the car was agonizing. This continued for about 10 days until the pain finally "broke" and went away completely without any pain management, etc. Surgeon ordered a CT scan in case, but it didn't show anything. Since then, that awful pain didn't come back.

    It is now 3 months out and my right side feels almost perfect. The left side still gives me problems, however. During the weekends, when I'm out and about and more active is when the discomfort starts. More like a dull, achy pain (not sharp). Sometimes I feel the pain in the left groin area, and sometimes more in the abdomen to the left of my belly button. Seems like it gets a little better week-to-week, but not close 100%. I'd say 70%.

    Every post-op appointment, my surgeon keeps saying "give it another month". I have been unable to go to the gym, which was a big part of my life. This has been much more difficult than I could have ever imagined. Everything online says "1-2 weeks"! Everyone thinks I'm nuts and that it's "all in my head", but I know it's not.

    If someone has gone 3 months and still not feeling near 100%, is there any chance of ever fully recovering and getting back to how I felt pre-surgery? Or, is it time to start thinking corrective surgery?

    Any insights are greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Your surgery notes might have some clues. A better description of what he found, how much mesh was implanted, the type and brand of mesh, whether or not fixation was used, etc.

    Your story, as you probably realize, is very similar to those of us who've had long-term problems. Unfortunately, today's surgeons aren't trained in how to deal with problems after the implantation process. It's get 'em in, get 'em out, pass them on to pain management. Pain management will probably be the next thing recommended if you persist. Your surgeon might even suggest that you learn to live with your new debilitated life, like mine did.

    Mesh implantation is taught as a procedure that is almost perfect if the surgeon has the appropriate skill level. It's a meme that has been created that actually makes it more likely that a surgeon will reject a patient's problems. Because it is implied that problems are from the surgeon's skill level, not the material itself. So you will very likely receive very little help from the surgeon who implanted the mesh, as you are finding out now.

    I would move on to a surgeon who has experience dealing with mesh problems. They will recognize your symptoms and have potential solutions ready.

    Comment


    • #3
      I wrote a good post but got the Unapproved green screen.

      Move on from the surgeon who implanted the mesh. He has reason to reject you because it is implied today that mesh problems are caused by the surgeon's skill level, Not the material itself. It will be a black mark on your surgeon's record to admit that you have problems.

      Find a surgeon who deals with mesh problems, they will have ideas. Get your medical records in the meantime so that the fine details of what was done will be clear. Your story is just "mesh implanted laparoscopically, now I have problems" without the details. There are scores of different types of mesh out there, and two main types of laparoscopic techniques, TEP and TAPP.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks so much. Good information. Didnít even know there were different names for the procedure.

        However, the main question is is there any hope for a full recovery if it hasnít happened in 3 months? I seem to be getting better after the 7 week mark, but still not there fully.

        Comment


        • #5
          There is always hope. But, if you're having problems now, at three months, the odds are greater that you will continue to have problems. Unfortunately, because the medical/industrial complex refuses to fully acknowledge that mesh has real problems, you will not find much help from the mainstream surgical community. They are not "allowed" to recognized mesh pain as a real problem. Solutions for mesh problems are not taught in medical school.

          That's why I suggest finding a surgeon who has experience in solving mesh problems. They will have the past experience from numerous patients to recognize your symptoms and may also have seen correlations with the type of mesh and where it was placed. The standard of care today for laparoscopic mesh placement is to place the biggest piece of mesh that they can fit in to the space they create. It's all about preventing recurrence, very little focus on chronic discomfort and pain. That's why your surgeon keeps putting you off. He's hoping that you'll accept your new diminished life and go away,

          I wish I could offer words of encouragement. But your best path forward is to find that experienced mesh pain surgeon and let them help you. The mainstream medical community will be of little help.

          Coincidentally, as I write this, an ad for hernia mesh problems litigation has come on to the television....

          Good luck. Get out of the system and chart your own path.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dh305 View Post
            Thanks so much. Good information. Didnít even know there were different names for the procedure.

            However, the main question is is there any hope for a full recovery if it hasnít happened in 3 months? I seem to be getting better after the 7 week mark, but still not there fully.
            IMHO 3 months is still early. Healing of various types can continue for over a year. People have reported improvement after a year or even two or three. Every one, and every situation is a little different. Your pain sounds like it's on the moderate side and not severe. That's a good sign. I'd see how you feel in a few more months. If you continue to improve, even just a little, that's also a good sign.That said, feel free to seek a second or even third opinion. People often report aches and pains for many many months after surgery, particularly after increased activity.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you again. Not sure where to find a mesh pain surgeon. They all purport to be "hernia specialists", experts in minimally invasive techniques, etc.
              I am sure the next shoe to drop will be recommending "pain management".
              I have read some articles that it can take up to 6 months to recover. So, afraid that I'll be jumping the gun getting second opinions, pain management, etc.
              I wish I had some direction. It's really an awful situation. The doctors made it like I was getting a cavity filled. Quick, simple and back to normal life in no time. Absolutely zero discussion about complications, etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                my previous post is gone (not sure what happened), but long story short I think 3 months is still early. for some people it just takes longer. the mesh itself along with the tissue and nerves can experience changes for up to and over a year or even more. some folks have seen improvement over quite long time horizons. if things are improving albeit slowly, that's a good sign. it's actually not uncommon for people to have soreness with activity or just in general for quite a long time after the surgery. this is reported quite frequently, and most surgeons typically even tell people that for a year or more they may have uncomfortable sensations now and again. most of those folks seem to get to the point where they feel back to normal, but i've seen quite a few say it took a year or even two or more. just depends on the person. just keep an eye on it. you can certainly look into pain management. but i think if it's mild to moderate, and mostly just moderate after more vigorous activity, i don't think you're doing any harm waiting for a few more months to go down that road. but getting the pain under control could potentially have some benefit as well. i think there's evidence that working to diminish lingering pain earlier on could have a better long-term prognosis. pain can become chronic in a sense that it's learned. but just speculating based on some of the things i've read.

                FYI - i am a year and a half out and still have soreness off and on. i visited the renowned dr. belyanski in MD and he examined me and my scans and said he wouldn't recommend doing anything in my case. i think most of the cases he accepts for mesh removal are folks who have been suffering for quite a while and would categorize their pain as pretty severe and debilitating. i don't think he does pain management but maybe offers referrals. i have often wondered to what extent my pain was psychosomatic and to what extent it's 'real'. pain is a complicated thing.

                where are you located?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your insights and your own experience. Definitely gave me hope. All I know are a few people, including my father and his cousin who are waayyyyyy older than me, who had inguinal hernia surgeries and were perfect in a couple of weeks. They can't believe that I'm not perfect yet. Comparing their experiences to mine being 12 weeks in to this, I have been basically losing all hope that I would get back to how I felt before this surgery and very much regretted having the surgery to begin with. The nerve issue I had a few weeks into my recovery really freaked me out. It was unimaginable pain, but as my surgeon said, it did ultimately resolve on its own. But, it's always in the back of my head that because that happened, and because this nagging discomfort is on the same side where that pain was, that I have some type of complication that will never get 100% healed.

                  I describe what i feel more as general discomfort after walking for a while, etc. Almost feels like a deep bruise. Then the next day, it is tender, but wouldn't describe it as "pain". Usually doing desk work, sitting, driving, etc., I actually feel pretty good.

                  It helps hearing stories like yours, as I really have no barometer to judge what is a "normal" recovery period, and what's abnormal. Get no answers from my surgeon other than "everyone is different". But, after hearing your experience, maybe I'm jumping the gun too early and worrying for nothing and am being impatient and should not get too upset over this "delayed" recovery I am having.

                  Located in Florida btw.

                  Thanks again!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your insights and your own experience. Definitely gave me hope. All I know are a few people, including my father and his cousin who are waayyyyyy older than me, who had inguinal hernia surgeries and were perfect in a couple of weeks. They can't believe that I'm not perfect yet. Comparing their experiences to mine being 12 weeks in to this, I have been basically losing all hope that I would get back to how I felt before this surgery and very much regretted having the surgery to begin with. The nerve issue I had a few weeks into my recovery really freaked me out. It was unimaginable pain, but as my surgeon said, it did ultimately resolve on its own. But, it's always in the back of my head that because that happened, and because this nagging discomfort is on the same side where that pain was, that I have some type of complication that will never get 100% healed.

                    I describe what i feel more as general discomfort after walking for a while, etc. Almost feels like a deep bruise. Then the next day, it is tender, but wouldn't describe it as "pain". Usually doing desk work, sitting, driving, etc., I actually feel pretty good.

                    It helps hearing stories like yours, as I really have no barometer to judge what is a "normal" recovery period, and what's abnormal. Get no answers from my surgeon other than "everyone is different". But, after hearing your experience, maybe I'm jumping the gun too early and worrying for nothing and am being impatient and should not get too upset over this "delayed" recovery I am having.

                    Located in Florida btw.

                    Thanks again!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your insights and your own experience. Definitely gave me hope. All I know are a few people, including my father and his cousin who are waayyyyyy older than me, who had inguinal hernia surgeries and were perfect in a couple of weeks. They can't believe that I'm not perfect yet. Comparing their experiences to mine being 12 weeks in to this, I have been basically losing all hope that I would get back to how I felt before this surgery and very much regretted having the surgery to begin with. The nerve issue I had a few weeks into my recovery really freaked me out. It was unimaginable pain, but as my surgeon said, it did ultimately resolve on its own. But, it's always in the back of my head that because that happened, and because this nagging discomfort is on the same side where that pain was, that I have some type of complication that will never get 100% healed.

                      I describe what i feel more as general discomfort after walking for a while, etc. Almost feels like a deep bruise. Then the next day, it is tender, but wouldn't describe it as "pain". Usually doing desk work, sitting, driving, etc., I actually feel pretty good.

                      It helps hearing stories like yours, as I really have no barometer to judge what is a "normal" recovery period, and what's abnormal. Get no answers from my surgeon other than "everyone is different". But, after hearing your experience, maybe I'm jumping the gun too early and worrying for nothing and am being impatient and should not get too upset over this "delayed" recovery I am having.

                      Located in Florida btw.

                      Really appreciate it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with me. This really gives me some hope.

                        I'm located in Florida.

                        The only context I have is my father and his cousin (who are waaaayyyyy older than me) who recovered from their inguinal hernia repairs perfectly in 2 weeks. No one can believe that I'm not back to 100% or back to the gym yet. So, with that context, I've basically lost hope that I will ever fully recover and it's depressing.
                        The terrible nerve pain I felt about 3 weeks into my recovery is gone completely, but it was located on the same left side where I have this continual discomfort so I figured I have a complication that I'll not ever fully overcome.

                        It really helps to hear about stories like yours to help me better understand what is "normal" recovery vs. "abnormal". Since as you point out, objectively I am making incremental progress, perhaps I am jumping the gun and should just chalk it up to a delayed recovery and let the process play itself out. Really appreciate it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have always been told that the older you are, the less likely you will experience chronic pain or other issues. Hypothetically because older folks are less active. Also, apparently, if you have pain before surgery you are more likely to have it after. I had some pain before. But there are so many factors with all of this - age, type of surgery, type of mesh, type of sutures, other health issues, mental state, etc etc.

                          i donít know to what extent my recovery is normal, or if at some point in the future I will be revisiting possible solutions for my issues again as time passes. I seem to go a few months and just sort of accept any discomfort, and mostly ignore it. then I start worrying again. My issues have always been less pain and more related to strange sensations on my right side that just feel Ďweirdí - like tightness and heaviness. But it extends beyond the hernia and the mesh as well. It makes it difficult to explain during appointments. And there have been times it has mostly or completely abated for a while. But thereís definitely some achiness and soreness off and on still. Iíve read some studies suggesting after a few years most people report recovering from lingering pain. And one study showed zero pain at ten years for the respondents they tracked, even those with severe pain. Though exactly what that means to each individual person is potentially up for debate. And then other doctors have suggested any pain at a year is less likely to go away. Itís all very confusing.

                          thereís a famous hernia doctor in Florida - dr Tomas I think? May no longer be practicing. If you search the forums he shows up a lot.

                          All that having been said, I think at least a couple more months would be illustrative. If youíre still improving then, youíre probably going to be just fine. Just my two cents.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

                            Take some time to quantify where you were physically before the hernia and define what lower level is acceptable now. Keep a log of of your activities and abilities to be aware if you are slowly getting weaker and weaker, without realizing it. Without measuring your levels you can easily see a year or two pass that could have been a year or two recovering from a mesh pain solution.

                            The common surgeon sees so many patients with much worse problems than a hernia repair patient. The fact that you're alive and functional is a win in their minds. Only you can decide if you need to take more risk to fix your new life.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I got Unapproved again.

                              Be objective about what is happening to your life. Track your activity and ability levels over time and compare them to your old self. The path down is insidious because your old normal self could get back in shape with a week or two of intense activity, from a weakened level. But your new self can't do intense activity anymore. So as you get weaker, mentally you think it's temporary, that you'll be able to get healthy again as soon as you feel better. But really, the weaker state is permanent, because you never feel better and can never generate the energy to stay healthy.

                              Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

                              Comment

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