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TAH - Complications afterwards - broken internal stitches

From the Abdominal Hysterectomy Stories Articles List

My TAH (for heavy bleeding) was scheduled Jan 7. Everything seemed to go well and the next day, the anesthesiologist removed the morphine catheter from the incision site and one from my spine area. The incision site seemed to drain perfusely and I was constantly soaking my dressings and gown and bedding. The nurses said this was "normal". About 3 pm, that afternoon, one of the nurses came in to again change the dressing and asked me about pain. She pointed to one "blue" spot to the left of the incision and asked if it hurt. It did! She said she was going to have the doctor look at it, probably was just a small clot and could easily be removed. It wasn't more than 15-20 min later, my doctor comes in and examines the incision and blue spot. He asks for a Q-tip and lifts up the incision, some what. Next thing I know, he's barking out orders for immediate surgery as some of the internal stitches have broken and my bowel is coming through. I couldn't get ahold of my family but right as they were wheeling me out the door, I did get ahold of my oldest daughter. The lab tech, rode on the bed to draw blood as they were wheeling me down the hall. I was terrified, to say the least. I don't remember much after they moved me onto the surgery table, but do recall waking up in the Recovery room and shaking like a leaf in a gale. The next time I woke up, I was still in Recovery but heard the nurse talking that she had to give me some medication for the tremors. Then I was taken up to my room, where I was greeting by a very worried husband and children (ages 22 and 16). The doctor apologized several times for this 2nd surgery but admits he has no idea why it happened and why it happened to me. He says the only time he's seen this type of complication was on a very obese woman. I'm 5'10" and weigh 150 pounds. His theory is that for whatever reason, one or two stitches broke. As a result, I was in the hospital for nearly 6 days (went in on Mon and home on Sat.) I had quite a bit of pain, especially to the left of the incision and I was given IV antibiotics about 4 times daily, the last of which was given Friday morning. My daughter said my CBC was elevated (a white cell count of13,000) and my temperature was 100.6 F which the doctor said indicated that infection was starting to set in. Other than the pain, which I rated a 4-6 most of the time, I didn't have too difficult of time, the remainder of my hospital stay.
One further complication. After the doctor removed the metal staples (about 3 days after I got out of the hospital) I continued to have drainage from the lower area of the incision. There seemed to be one area that wasn't healing. I finally had to go back to the clinic where the doctor "squeezed out" more serous fluid. Once he did that, it started to heal, though he did think he might have to put additional stitches in. Since then, my recovery has been unremarkable and I'm going back to work, in a couple days. I was glad I put in for the full 6 weeks as I really needed them.

02-17-2002 - 01:58 PM


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