January 11th 2010, Curtis underwent a bilateral inguinal
lymphadenectomy. The main things that were stressed by the doctors
was that it was a major surgery and that there may be swelling of
the limbs afterwards due to the absence of lymph nodes. During pre admission we were given some info on
what to expect as well as we searched for what info we could find on
the internet. Still many things we learned after the fact, would
have been nice to know ahead of time.
The operation lasted approximately 2 1/2 hours. Except for a
bit of trouble with Curtis' blood pressure during surgery,
everything went well. After 1 1/2 hours in recovery, he was back
in his room.
Anti-embolism socks were put on in recovery
(something when we had asked pre admission about; but they knew
nothing of). They had to remain on 24-7 except for twice a day for
20 minutes in which they had to be taken off to give the legs a
rest. While wearing the socks, if at anytime they left a mark on
the leg, the socks had to be cut.
A catheter was in (another thing we had asked pre
admission about and they said no there wouldn't be) which was a
bit confusing and caused Curtis some stress. But once he was told
he was on a 48 hour bed rest, he understood the reason for the
catheter being in.
Not being able to move his legs much during
this time, heprin was given so to prevent blood clots.
wiggling his toes and rolling his ankles and knees was the
limited mobility allowed.
He had 12 staples on each side of his groin
(total of 24) that had a span of approximately 5-6 inches in length. A few inches
below each of the incision sites was a drain tube which had a
plastic bulb which collected the drainage for each side. Each drain was emptied
and measured twice a day.
When we asked how many nodes were
removed, we were told "too many to count". A solid mass of nodes
is removed in a "fat pad" and is sent for pathology which takes
After the 48 hour bed rest the catheter was
Once ambulating and drainage was a minimum, it
was on the 7th day the drainage tubes were pulled and Curtis was
Penicillin was given for 7 days with
instructions to change his dressing twice a day, keeping the area
clean. Once the area showed no drainage on the adherent dressings
he could leave it open to the air. If any fever, green drainage or
angry redness appeared he was to go to Emerge. Infection is a high
risk and needs to be watched.
It is beneficial once the
incisions are healed that the embolism stockings be as far up as
can be to keep the lymph from settling into the legs. It is of
utmost importance to make sure the stockings are proper size so
that they are not too tight.
It is also beneficial to
wear supportive underwear as well. The chances of lymph settling
into the scrotum is high since the lymph nodes are gone. Folding a
sock under the scrotum, or a towel when laying down is beneficial.
It helps alleviate any heaviness and being uncomfortable due to
lymph settling in.
No heavy lifting for 3-6 weeks. Driving
is dependant on your progress in healing after surgery, ask your
It was 2 1/2 weeks before Curtis had his staples
removed. Everyone heals differently so times may vary.