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Post Thoracotomy Syndrome
pdog1 posted:
Had surgery for a collapsed lung 2 1/2 months ago. Still experiencing lots of pain in my chest & don't still get winded. Doc says my lung is doing great - Shouldn't I be feeling better by now?
ctbeth responded:
hello pdog1,
Chest pain should be evaluated by your MD. Your MD said that you're, "doing great", which is fine, but did you discuss your residual discomfort/pain with the MD?

Surgery, of any nature, can take a very long time to completely heal. I, personally, do not think 2-1/2 months is long enough healing time that you would feel like you did before.
Ask your MD and give yourself some time
auntlaurie52 responded:
What type of incision did you have? It is not unusual to have residual pain from a thoracotomy incision for 4 to 6 months.
An_240460 responded:
Hi There,

If you have Post Thoracotomy Pain Syndrome you will NEVER be free of pain EVER again.

Your doctor will try to get you to take all sorts of stuff but the ONLY thing that works for PTPS is opiates.

Doctors don't want you to know that PTPS happens in as many as 80% of people who have a thoracotomy.

Doctors also don't want you to know that the #1 killer in the US is heart attacks, the #2 killer is strokes and the #3 killer is doctors. I swear that to be the truth.

Here's some links about PTPS that you might find helpful...

Good luck!
annette030 replied to An_240460's response:
I realize that you are one of the unfortunate people with PTPS, however, after reading at all the sites you provided, the majority of them said that 65-67% of thoracotomy patients might develop this problem, not the 80% that you mention.

They also said that all but about 5% were able to be treated with fair-good relief. Only a very small % of patients had severe pain after a thoracotomy that was actually disabling. That is no comfort if you are one of those people.

It seemed that epidural or intrathecal opiates were often used for treatment early on after surgery in the post op period. I did not read about oral opiates in these studies, either for early use or later in treatment.

I have found the NIH studies to be more reliable that others, you have to read how many people were studied, who paid for the study, and what kind of study it was, to rate them as poor, fair, good. Double blind randomized studies are the gold standard, but not always available, a large number of participants is better than the small studies. Who paid for the study or set it up is always interesting.

I hope you feel better soon and find a doctor that you work well with, if you haven't already.

Take care, Annette
guinea_pigs replied to annette030's response:
Hi Anette,

If you read this one from European Journal Of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery you should be able to see that it says, among other things, "Further studies have estimated the incidence of chronic postthoracotomy pain at 11—80%"

So there is one "mention" of 80% and I'm sure throughout my reading I've read many more instances.

I apologize if I sound bitter, but by golly I am bitter. I'm sick and tired of doctors acting like God. I'm a grown GD man and I know when I hurt and when I don't hurt and I don't appreciate GD doctors that question that!
annette030 replied to guinea_pigs's response:
I understand that you feel bitter.

That said, read the rest of that paragraph. It describes pain as any discomfort at all, and is only talking about two months post op. I have never met anyone who had their chest cracked open that did not feel some discomfort for at least TWO months!!

I am not doubting that this pain syndrome exists, but you must read all the studies very carefully. Often they are done on a very small number of patients, or have strange conditions and definitions. That can radically change how they turn out.

I believe that you hurt, so don't yell at me.

Take care, Annette
ctbeth replied to guinea_pigs's response:
The statistics here, ", "Further studies have estimated the incidence of chronic postthoracotomy pain at 11—80%"" are an odd way to cite percentages, right?

Would you mind telling us what condition that lead to your have thorax surgery? That is serious stuff.

Are you the person who started this thread? It was 2 1/2 months post op. If so, I am so sorry that you're still not feeling well. Initially, it seemed more hopeful as you were pretty-recent post-op.

Thanks for your consideration, and I hope you'll write again.

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