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Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 35032
Experience:  MBBS MS. Post doctoral fellowship in Sports Medicine. General surgeon and sports medicine specialist
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What can cause severe upper body swelling, hands, arms,

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what can cause severe upper body swelling, hands, arms, abdomen, face, upper back with pain, numbness and heat and some itching and hair loss. the swelling never goes away but does flare up intermittently through out the course of the day. PLEASE HELP...


Was an MRI of the neck and chest done?

Since how long is the swelling and other symptoms?

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I have had numerous abd. surg over 15 yrs started due to POS then perferiotion sp? of colon with extreme peritiontis and pericarditis in 1996, had last surgery to reconnect bowel with multiple resections (bowel is actually working quite well amazing with a few minor blockages) the swelling went completely away till 3 months post op and it returned with 15lbs of fluid and hands that hurt can't close (or type) burn red itch pain in upper back and neck and upper arms. Lower body does swell but not nearly as much.
mri was for pituatary gland only
meds include fentanyl patch 25ug, keppra 2500 (daily seizures new since surgery in aug 09) lamacital, soma, synthroid 125 x6days and 175x1day (hypothyroidism) also recent dx since surgery?????
thank you I have to find an answer - it is robbing me of any quality of life


The hypothyroidism can explain the swelling of the whole of the body which can be predominantly on the upper body. The other cause for the predominantly upper body swelling can be some pressure on the superior vena cava (this is the vein which drain, whole of the upper part of the body). An MRI of the neck and chest will be able to show any lymph node (they get enlarged non specifically with the multiple surgeries and associated infection and inflammation) which might be pressing on the superior vena.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dr. Arun,
Thank you for taking the time - I think you might be referring to TOS, I think this was ruled out on a quick ck basis, would it be worth investigating further? Also if this was allergic based what would cause every day to deal with this? A few years back I ended up with two very significant blood clots in my left upper arm serious enough to need ??? TPO (I think that's what its called the one to prevent strokes but need constant monitoring then I was on coumadin for 8 months - is this related in any way? I know there also has been some thought of Lupus and Cushings (the basic initial tests were negative) I also believe there is some thought of MS? I am an extremely upbeat person who happens to have some bad luck with health but I still love life and will do what ever it takes to improve what is in my control. The seizures I have are simple complex seizures of the frontal lobe these are new as of this year. Thank you again, I do appreciate your assistance. Prior to being out of commission my career was a Medical Operations Specialist
OH also I drink a minimum of 9 8oz of water daily and yet several times a day I find it IMPOSSIBLE to even swallow or talk due to no saliva what so ever. I also have decreased urine output? sorry so complicated and again thank you.

You are very welcome and thanks for the further detailed information. This is helpful.

The good thing is that you have pretty good work up and your physician have been thoughtful for pursuing it. A colored doppler study of the carotids (neck arteries) and inferior vena cava and MRI of the neck and chest is the line of the work for ascertaining the cause of this swelling. Hopefully this would pin point the reason and give the guideline for the treatment and you would get rid of your symptoms.

It is pleasure and privilege assisting you.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Many thanks, ***** ***** of thinking you are thinking carotids and inferior vena cava is this reasonably easy to fix - treat - medicate?
No more questions I'm already taken too much of your time. Have a wonderful week.
Most Sincerely, S

You are very welcome.

Yes, these causes should be treatable or atleast give you very significant improvement.

It is pleasure and privilege assisting you. I hope this was helpful to you. If it was, please remember to ACCEPT the answer so I can get compensated for my work. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask. I am truly privileged to help you, and I want to make sure that you are satisfied with the answer. Good luck!

Dr. Arun

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