Thoracic, Abdominal Aneurysm Repair Surgery

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I am a 54 year old female who underwent a thoracic, abdominal aneurysm repair surgery 8 months ago.  The aneurysm was 5.5 to 5.6 centimetres and essentially the aorta was repaired from my heart to my kidneys.  I would like to discuss my recovery.  I am still not up to my usual level of energy in that I still have to rest if I have not taken it easy.  During the surgery the left side of my ribs were clamped open and I find myself still favouring that side of my body. eg: protecting my ribs with my hands if I am in a crowded area.  But, what has really stumped me is a feeling of panic and anxiety.  I had imagined that after the aneurysm was repaired that I would feel relieved.  I AM most grateful  but sometimes I feel dissociated from my body and I feel depressed a lot of the time...which was not a usual occurence before the surgery.  It feels as if for the 18 years that I knew about the aneurysm I lived in a mild state of anxiety as to whether or not it would rupture or if and when I would have major surgery.  Now, that it's repaired I feel like I have to learn to live in a different way....kind of like when I was a child and went skating all afternoon and then took off my skates.  It felt strange to walk in boots.  I know it's a silly analogy but it feels like I have to learn to walk again.  Is there anyone else that has felt this panic or does anyone have symptoms of PTSD following their surgery?

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  • Posted


    So sorry to here about your PTSD and experiences.

    I had an 11cm TAA repaired 13 months ago. Sounds like the same procedure, my left side was clamped open.

    It's healed well, but unlikely to ever be perfect. I have lost a lot of feeling where the nerves were cut. My ribs click sometimes as if they are loose. Its not really painful, more of an uncomfortable feeling. Sometimes it just feels like some organs are a little out of place, if I press in certain places it is very uncomfortable.

    Still you just have to plod on.

    Its taken a long time to get fitness back, and thats still hard, but the medication probabkly doesn't help with that kind of thing. I try to not push too hard anyway in case I "burst" the repair. The surgoen said they can leak sometimes.

    I don't feel depressed or down, in fact the opposite. I regard myself as very lucky as most people dont make it. Friends and family say they cant believe what I went through when they see me, so it doesn't seem to have pushed me back any.

    I really hope your feelings improve, as its important for any recovery to move on and enjoy the rest of your life. Thats a cliche, but so true.

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  • Posted

    I also meant to say, after the op I had a lot of trouble walking sometimes. Now not so frequent. It was only occasionally my lower back muscles seem to give up and I had to sit down immediately.

    The operation can cause nerve damage and it was the risk of never walking again that really scared me, not death.

    I had to have a blood patch in my spine a week after the op to resolve brain fluid leakage, and that may have added to the problem.


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  • Posted

    I had my decending aorta replaced with a decron tube (graf) 9 months ago. I came out of surgery a paraplagic. I've gotten some return of my legs but still can not walk. Legs are to weak. But my main complaint is rib pain.

    My ribs hurt 24/7. The only time I get relief is when I lye still on my back. I stopped taking pain pills after 3 months. Just take motrin now. Will the pain ever go away.

    Does anyone have similar pain after a TAA?

    Being in a wheel chair doesn't help. Sitting bunches my ribs up and makes breathing, twisting, and moving painful.


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