Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fixing a Failed Surgery –The Plan for Now

11.27Isn’t that a cute face?  I was trying to get Mason to look at the camera and he did for about two seconds.  His eyes kept drifting back to the Eye Spy Picture on the wall.  This was our room at Plastic Surgery today.  He had a lot of fun finding things in the picture, I just wish it had been placed lower on the wall so he could have touched it from his wheelchair.  It was actually higher than MY head standing up, which seemed especially weird for a children’s hospital. 

Our visit with Dr. P today went okay.  The cultures from the incision came back clean, with no bacteria or infection.  That is a wonderful thing.  According to Dr. P the incision looks pretty good for what we’re dealing with but it is still a bad thing to have happen.  (See what happened HERE if you missed that post.)

The plan is still a bit uncertain.  For the moment we continue daily bandage and packing changes.  In two weeks Mason has a checkup.  If Dr. P sees what he needs to then (some clearing out of the incision so it is not seeping so much) we might schedule surgery to attempt reclosure. 

Did you notice the words might and attempt?  Sad smile 

Spina Bifida patients with nerve damage like Mason has tend to be very slow healers.  His body doesn’t receive all the signals it needs to get things healing quickly and well.  So in a second reclosure Dr. P would use different techniques that will involve different sutures, long-term stitches, and some scarring.  The technique is similar to what is done with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.  And it may not work, it may reopen again. 

If things don’t look ready in 2 weeks we’ll keep packing the wound and changing bandages and check back later. 

If he does surgery and the incision reopens again we will have to go the slow route.  That involves continued packing and bandage changes for months as Mason’s body slowly heals from the inside out.  Probably 6 months at the minimum

In all honesty I’m praying and holding on to hope for surgery in 2 weeks.  I can’t think about what it would mean to keep doing this bandaging and packing long-term. 

Crazy Factoid: The Tegederm used to cover Mason’s packing and gauze costs $2.50 PER sheet.  1 sheet = 1 bandage change.  6 months of bandage changes equals $450.00.  That does not include other supplies like the packing strips and gauze, or extra bandage changes for messy bowel movements.  Thank heavens for insurance!


  1. I was just wondering if massaging the area around the wound with a vibrating massager would help stimulate healing. Since the body isn't receiving signals via the nerves, perhaps just a vibrating motion would help since it would move the body's natural fluid and cells that are in the area. We all know how good a massage feels and helps, but what good might it do even if we don't feel it? Is he sitting on a donut, too, to avoid pressure on his bottom? I used Mepilex on my baby, which was rather like a sheet of foam. I wonder if Mepilex over the packing and then the Tegaderm would offer Mason better protection?

  2. Okay, if you get to the point that you can close the wound surgically, I also think that placing Steristrips over the top of it will reinforce the sutures since it's a vulnerable area, and then also use the kind of tape used in physical therapy to hold Mason's buttocks together at the top. I just called this tape Pink Tape. But cover the wound with something so that the Pink Tape doesn't stick to it. Does Mason have a gel pad for his wheelchair seat?

  3. Sometimes I cry when I read your posts here about Mason and all that you face on a daily basis and then I remember that we serve an Awesome God. And remember how blessed we are to live in a place where people with medical conditions are loved and cared for and not discarded and ignored. You are an amazing and Godly woman. Your family is a blessing to many!

  4. Okay, I'm not a doctor, but I do have common sense. How about closing the wound as it would heal naturally, one layer at a time from the inside out, over time. So, first close the innermost layer. Watch for healing and/or infection and/or fluid build-up. Then, when that layer heals, do the next one. Or, close it all up with a drain so any fluid within can drain out and not bust the stitches, plus do use steristrips or some other kind of tape to hold it after the repair.

    1. I know K, it sounds reasonable. The difficulty is that each time you do surgery you deal with risks from anesthesia, increased risk of infection, hospital stays (which also increase risk of infection), and the immune system takes a huge hit from each surgery.


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