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Pauline, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 8631
Experience:  Medical Doctor & Registered Pharmacist. Worked as Community pharmacist for 17 years.
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Just wondering, I just had bilateral decompressions done on

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Hey, just wondering, I just had bilateral decompressions done on both legs because of Compartment syndrome... now... one leg is painful as you'd expect... but one is numb and has been for four days on the inside from mid calf to the middle of my foot and I'm wondering if this is a sign of a nerve thats been damaged?

Hello, when did you have the decompression?

What was the reason for the compartment syndrome?

Is it numb to light touch, heat, deep pressure?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I had the decompression done 5 days ago, I went to the doctor to see why one leg was so painful and she said there were no issues but I didnt realize that I couldnt feel on the inside of the other leg...

The reason for the compartment syndrome is unknown to the surgeon, I dont do a lo of sport but my muscles would always contract walking even short distances to the point of they would feel burstinfg.

It is numb to any touch, it feels like its under anaesthetic - if youve ever had a root canal done and they've numbed your bot***** *****p - it feels like that.

I can walk fine on it, but the other leg is giving me problems because of the pain - but I'm just wondering if this one is numb does that mean that the other one is experiencing normal pain or did the surgeon maybe cut a nerve because I know there was that risk.

Numbness is a possibility with compartment syndrome, it does not mean that the surgeon cut the nerve but is related to the internal pressures in the compartment causing nerve compression. It is the prime reason that the decompression is done in order to reduce the long term implications of nerve damage.

At the moment it sounds like the cutaneous nerve was damaged, this may return in time as we are still in early days however some pain is to be expected. If the pain is severe and is worsening rather than improving, or you are experiencing any weakness then you need to return to your doctor.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There was no numbness to begin with before the surgery, I wasnt told about any numbness to be expected afterwards - I was told that the inner compartment was difficult to decompress because they had to go between the nerves to cut the muscle. So that bit on my leg is all numb and that leg literally feels normal, like nothing has been done - there isn't alot of bruising at all.

But on the other side the pain is just getting gradually worse and theres bruising like I've been in a war, and the swelling in both legs has increased by one cm since last measured two days before.

I am ringing my surgeon tomorrow but I'm just worrying because I dont understand why there is such big difference between the two legs that were operated on in exactly the same way.

Can you possibly give me any more information?

Surgery causes release of blood (bruising) and local swelling due to lymphedema. I have a patient on the ward at the moment who has significant swelling and bruising. His surgery was significant and will need skin grafts to repair. I share this so you can understand that compartment syndrome is more serious than people imagine and recovery is often longer too.

The bruising and swelling will improve with time, you do need elevation of the legs when you can in order to help drainage.

You cannot compare the legs exactly as the depth and severity of the surgery will be individual depending on the degree of compartment syndrome that was found during surgery.

Obviously we would be concerned about clotting issues, if one leg was significantly worse than the other but as you saw a doctor recently and you had early mobilization then I would not be overly concerned with this.

Do make sure that you are taking regular and adequate analgesia. What painkillers are you taking at the moment?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Well, the surgeon actually sent me home with nothing except "take panadol"... but when I went to my doctor she prescribed me codeine phosphate. I am walking around but its getting harder.

It's really frustrating because no one really told me anything about the surgery or when or what to expect anything ... I just got told I was having the surgery and sent home two nights afterwards with discharge instructions of watching out for signs of clotting, which doesn't help because I get most of the symptoms and I'm worried I'm just being overreactive... I do get calf pain - which apparently is a sign of clotting. I do get mild to severe chest pains that come and go briefly as they feel like it.

I am also getting wierd little dizzy spells - i cant say its "dizziness", but it's like a feeling that comes over me for a second every ten-twenty minutes if Im walking around and its like im giddy but its very brief... if that has anything to do with anything I dont know.

I think the main problem here is that you have had a potentially serious problem and I wonder if you have been doing too much . We do recommend early mobilization after surgery but at the same time, rest and elevation is needed to help with healing. Certainly you should not be attempting to return to normal levels of activity just yet.

Any chest pain needs to be considered, if it is severe then you need this checked out and I would suggest ER if the pain is severe, with shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea. It is possible that the pain is a panic attack, but only examination and a couple of simple tests will rule this out. The giddiness might be due to low blood pressure, and again that needs to be checked.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks :) I did have low blood pressure for about three hours in hospital actually now that I remember so I'll get that checked tomorrow. Thank you!

That great, if you feel bad at the moment do get checked over at ER.



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