numbness and very tight feeling after vats surgery

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After having 3 collapses within 2months of feb and march, had vats pleurodesis with talc and wedge resection. Its been about 4 months post op and still a portion of my left chest and upper portion of my abdomen  is completly numb. I think the nerves were severed during surgery because my abdominal muscle wont or cant grow back even if i try and workout this part of my muscle. 

Also the left side of my ribs feels like there is a vice or a seatbelt putting pressure and it feels really tight. 

Does anyone else have the same or similar symptoms after surgery?

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112 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello, yes I do . Normally the numbness will go away after 6 month.

    I also have neuropathic pain and I am currently starting Pregabalin.

    Don't worry it is s phase of healing

    Best regards

    • Posted

      thanks. I read that you had a thoracotomy after a vats? How much more painfull was the. thoracotomy procedure? 
    • Posted


      During hospitalization, It was the same with pain killers but I had two drainage catheters at the same time for 8 and the second removed the tenth day. This had increased the chances of neuropathic pain . during recovery period it was very very painful at first but then the pain decreased within two weeks and after a month neuropathic pain started

    • Posted

      Did the lyrica help? Thank you for stating its nerve pain. I felt like whats this now,when i thought it was getting better it just hit a different type of pain.
    • Posted

      I had a vats resection 3 months ago and I get pain and numbness in the site I had the drain is this normal ?.

    • Posted

      I had vats 7 mos ago still have abdomen numbness and band tightness under my breast I hate feeling this way

      I cant sleep nights uncomfortable ribs jabbing me

  • Posted

    Can confirm. Up to 1 year there is obvious discomfort or even pain.

    Even after that, things will never quite be the same as before, but it does get better, slowly but steadily.

    Ask away should you have any other questions. 

  • Posted

    That tight feeling will subside but it takes time, the nerve pain should also improve however full normal nerve sensations may never return, it has been 4 years for me and I still have numbness in/on the area, you get use to it and it becomes the new normal. That seatbelt feeling is caused from the lung literally being glued to the chest wall when it use to move much more freely, it is a lot at first and I know how hard it is to cope but it will improve, lots of follow up with your doctor and if things just dont seem/feel right trust your gut and go to your dr or ER if it is really bad.
  • Posted

    Hello FK,

    I had a vats operation(removal of the Pleura) 1 1/2 years ago. Because they went theough the ribs and cut some intercoastal nerves in this area i have exactly the same symptoms. I've been reading these comments for almost that amount of time hoping to see another person with these symptoms. My operation was on the right lung so my tight chest above the nipple area all the way to my right armpit has been numb. It maybe has 5-10% more feeling than after the operation and the top of my abdomin is also a bit numb but sort of hurts. Obviously sitting for a long period and especially driving due to the seat belt is bareable but uncomfortable. I was on Lyrica (pain blocking medication often given for Epilepsy) because of electric shocks under my armpit all the way to my chest. The doctors almost dismissed my symptoms at the hospital to later read on the internet that this happens to 30% of patients. Let me know if you need more info or support. Good luck

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    • Posted

      thanks for your reply. Glad to know im mot the only one that has this. I too get those shock pains. Hopefully it will get better with time.
    • Posted

      I had the same thing, it’s been since oct 16th 2016 I was in pain killers since and my doc cut me off I’ve went to the hospital with intense pain similar to pneumothorax I’ve been on lyrica, gabapenton, tylonal 3, tramadol, they give me intercostal nerve injections. I still haven’t got the help I’ve needed and it’s 2018. 
    • Posted

      UPDATE FOR ME: 2019 now and ive gotten help from a pain specialist that knows what hes doing. Im now on morphine until the surgery comes. Hes doing a nerve stimulator on the nerves he pinpointed the doctors messed up during chest tube insertion. Usually the pain is not from the surgery its self, but the emergency chesttube they insert. its getting better for me. Dont let them tell you the pain is not there and dont give up trying to get your releif it took 3 years for me.

  • Posted

    Thanks for starting this thread; hope things are better for you. Strangely reassuring hearing others are in similar conditions so I don't expect it to go overnight, feel like I'm pestering the doctors! I'm olny 11 weeks after bullectomy/pleurectomy and pain changed to more of a burning under my last rib which has swollen quite alot - doctors say it's where muscles relaxed due to the op and the pressure from inside is making it bulge. Was obviously quite concerned with this so have been pushing for a scan of some sort to check it out but after a second opinion they say it's not worthwhile. Also some nerve damage; was concerned with the pregabalin so they have given me amitriptyline which I'm slightly more comfortable with.

    Jenny's comment about the seatbelt feeling due to the lung being stuck is interesting; can any type of physical movement cause it to pull away? Would be good to know if their is any way of reducing the risk of further problems.

    • Posted

      Hi i have had a vats op in june im having really bad pain in my boobs really heavy and very painful having pain in my back and also got a cough now and again anybody know why this pain is
    • Posted

      Hi Lisa....just to let you know you are not alone. I had my lower left lobe of my lung removed by VATS a month ago. The pain I am experiencing is the same as yours. My surgeon told me it is nerve pain. My doctor put me on Gabapentin about a week ago and it is definitely helping and when I go back they will increase my dosage. Hope this helps.
    • Posted

      like the others said ... the gabapentin can help the nerve pain .... IF it's not so bad ... but if it hurts too much you need to get some hydrocodone to go with it until the nerves heal some then the pain will moderate enough the gabapentin alone will work ... I needed the hydro for 4 months ... then the gabapentin plus a Tylenol got be by another 3 months ... till the gabapentin alone helped ... I'm at one year since the surgery now and the pain is more a "tingling" than pain ... so cheer up ... the pain does go away ... just VERY SLOWLY so BE PATIENT & have FAITH that you can bear it ...

    • Posted

      nerve damage muscle pain ribs expanded scar tissue all this major surgery. its gonna take a long time to heal

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