esophagectomy and nerve damage

3 Posts | Page(s): 1 

esophagectomy and nerve damage

by Yevvey on Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:52 PM

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Hello everyone,

does anybody know how often are the instances of nerve damage/obstruction during esophagectomy? By nerve damage I mean resection or obstruction of nerves innervating some of the organs around the surgery site? Like, for example, vagus nerve or phrenic nerve. I'm asking because I'm wondering if anyone ever had any weird symptoms that could not be explained by cancer recurrence or visible damage to the organs, but ended up being associated with neural tissue

God Bless

Yevvey

RE: esophagectomy and nerve damage

by doingfine on Fri Apr 01, 2011 09:00 PM

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Hello Yevvey,  I've been away from the board for a while and just read your post.  Yes, I learned about vagus nerve damage after my surgery.  I did have very weird things happen and occasionally still do.  My surgeon told me that it probably would happen.  For instance, for a couple of years after surgery I would sneeze instead of cough.  Everytime I had to cough, it would wind up as a sneeze and my husband could not figure it out.  It still happens sometimes and now we laugh at it.  I also had quite a bit of numbness in my right side.  That took several years to go away.  My surgeon said that when they do the Esophagectomy and cut along the vagus nerve, then brain has to retrain itself to receive signals.  She said the signals get misinterpreted by the brain, but with time it goes away.  She was right.  I rarely have problems any longer.

For a long while after my surgery, I also got very strange contractions of the diaphragm.  All of a sudden the diaphragm would bunch all up and I would experience somewhat of a cramp.  I would just massage it and it would go away.  They said this was scar tissue damage and nerve damage.  I doesn't happen very often at all any more.   I am a 7 year survivor this May.

Best wishes.

RE: esophagectomy and nerve damage

by Yevvey on Fri Apr 01, 2011 09:14 PM

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Hello doingfine, long time no see:)

It's so wonderful that you will have your 7th anniversary soon! Thank you for your response. The reason I'm asking is because my Mom is having difficulty breathing - she feels like she can't fully exhale sometimes and it's bothering her a lot. However, it doesn't feel like a mechanical obstruction in lungs per se, but rather as if she has some kind of contraction on her right side and it makes it difficult to breathe. If she would push down under her ribs on the right side, it would get better. Her CT scan and chest X-ray show that she has a lot or radiation and surgery-induced scar tissue, especially on the right side of her lungs, and she has reduced aspiration. So I was wondering if maybe her symptoms are caused by some nerve damage, esp vagal nerve, since it branches off to lungs. It's just weird that she started having these symptoms two years after the surgery. She also had numbness of her pinkie fingers for a long time after surgery

 

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