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Lymphedema and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Forums General Melanoma Community Lymphedema and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

  • Post
    Ann from Iowa
    Participant

      If you have had carpal tunnel surgery and have lymphedema in that limb what were your results as far as complications go.  I know my husband was told not to so much as have a blood pressure cuff put on that arm so am wondering on the wiseness of doing this surgery.  The orthopedic Dr. said if he doesn't he will continue to lose strength and dexterity in that hand.  He has Stage IIIB melanoma and has been NED since treatment ended at the end of 2010.  He will at the same time have surgery on that elbow to unpinch the ulnar nerve that is also causing loss of sensation in his left hand.  They said it is severe on both hands so needs the surgery done on both.  We are only concerned about the arm with lymphedema.  Any response on results or if this surgery is advised  would be very helpful.    He had 5 high dose radiation treatments to his underarm when the melanoma returned to the lymphnodes and then a year treatment with Leukine.  Seems to have done well since until this.  Thanks for your help. 

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    • Replies
        washoegal
        Participant

          Ann,  I have not had the surgery for CT but I had it so bad that I could not even hold a coffee cup in my right hand.  I was told the exact same thing as your husband.  Lucky for me, two people I worked with had recently had the surgery and were both dissatified with it.  So I talked the surgeon into a highly regimated schedule of physical therapy with a hand specialist.  The surgeon, of course was sure this wasn't going to work.  Well, I have about 95% use of my hand.  I still about every 6-8 months have to pull out the exercises and do them for a couple of weeks to loosen up but that's a lot better than a surgery that marginally works. 

          I am assuming your husband had a CLND.  The worry should not be so much about lymphedema as it should be infection.  The lymphedema you can control, the infection he has lost his natural ability to control in that arm and if one sets in he will be in the hospital with IV antibiotics for a very long time (I have already gotten that lecture from my GP over a VERY small cut.).

           

          My personal recommendation would be for him to try the physical therapy route (his surgeon will NOT be receptive) on one hand.  See how it does for him.  I hope it does as well as it did for me!

           

          Mary

          Stage 3a

          washoegal
          Participant

            Ann,  I have not had the surgery for CT but I had it so bad that I could not even hold a coffee cup in my right hand.  I was told the exact same thing as your husband.  Lucky for me, two people I worked with had recently had the surgery and were both dissatified with it.  So I talked the surgeon into a highly regimated schedule of physical therapy with a hand specialist.  The surgeon, of course was sure this wasn't going to work.  Well, I have about 95% use of my hand.  I still about every 6-8 months have to pull out the exercises and do them for a couple of weeks to loosen up but that's a lot better than a surgery that marginally works. 

            I am assuming your husband had a CLND.  The worry should not be so much about lymphedema as it should be infection.  The lymphedema you can control, the infection he has lost his natural ability to control in that arm and if one sets in he will be in the hospital with IV antibiotics for a very long time (I have already gotten that lecture from my GP over a VERY small cut.).

             

            My personal recommendation would be for him to try the physical therapy route (his surgeon will NOT be receptive) on one hand.  See how it does for him.  I hope it does as well as it did for me!

             

            Mary

            Stage 3a

              Ann from Iowa
              Participant

                I so appreciate your comments about your experience with CT and surgery on an arm with lymphedema.  Yes, he  did have a CLND under his left arm.  He had a very bad infection in that arm this fall just from getting a small scratch from a tree limb he was triming.  He was very sick and had to take two pretty high powered antiobiotics to get over it.  The surgeon did not even mention any physical therapy for it.  He said it was very severe and not ony must have both wrists done but also the elbows as he has the other pinched nerve issue.  It sounds like your CT was about like his.  I am going to show your note to Dennis and am going to look into the physical therapy for that arm.  I think the other arm will be fine but something really worries me about the other arm and I don't think this is worth the risk.  When they don't even want him so much as having a blood pressure cuff on that arm then why would you even consider surgery especially when it is elective and not anything life threatening that must be done if another route could help.  Again, thanks so much.  And he is Stage IIIB and the node that burst under his arm was 5 cm so very large.  Scares us as his oncologist said when it burst it sent melanoma cells everywhere.  So yes, this surgery is concerning. 

                Ann from Iowa
                Participant

                  I so appreciate your comments about your experience with CT and surgery on an arm with lymphedema.  Yes, he  did have a CLND under his left arm.  He had a very bad infection in that arm this fall just from getting a small scratch from a tree limb he was triming.  He was very sick and had to take two pretty high powered antiobiotics to get over it.  The surgeon did not even mention any physical therapy for it.  He said it was very severe and not ony must have both wrists done but also the elbows as he has the other pinched nerve issue.  It sounds like your CT was about like his.  I am going to show your note to Dennis and am going to look into the physical therapy for that arm.  I think the other arm will be fine but something really worries me about the other arm and I don't think this is worth the risk.  When they don't even want him so much as having a blood pressure cuff on that arm then why would you even consider surgery especially when it is elective and not anything life threatening that must be done if another route could help.  Again, thanks so much.  And he is Stage IIIB and the node that burst under his arm was 5 cm so very large.  Scares us as his oncologist said when it burst it sent melanoma cells everywhere.  So yes, this surgery is concerning. 

                  Ann from Iowa
                  Participant

                    I so appreciate your comments about your experience with CT and surgery on an arm with lymphedema.  Yes, he  did have a CLND under his left arm.  He had a very bad infection in that arm this fall just from getting a small scratch from a tree limb he was triming.  He was very sick and had to take two pretty high powered antiobiotics to get over it.  The surgeon did not even mention any physical therapy for it.  He said it was very severe and not ony must have both wrists done but also the elbows as he has the other pinched nerve issue.  It sounds like your CT was about like his.  I am going to show your note to Dennis and am going to look into the physical therapy for that arm.  I think the other arm will be fine but something really worries me about the other arm and I don't think this is worth the risk.  When they don't even want him so much as having a blood pressure cuff on that arm then why would you even consider surgery especially when it is elective and not anything life threatening that must be done if another route could help.  Again, thanks so much.  And he is Stage IIIB and the node that burst under his arm was 5 cm so very large.  Scares us as his oncologist said when it burst it sent melanoma cells everywhere.  So yes, this surgery is concerning. 

                  washoegal
                  Participant

                    Ann,  I have not had the surgery for CT but I had it so bad that I could not even hold a coffee cup in my right hand.  I was told the exact same thing as your husband.  Lucky for me, two people I worked with had recently had the surgery and were both dissatified with it.  So I talked the surgeon into a highly regimated schedule of physical therapy with a hand specialist.  The surgeon, of course was sure this wasn't going to work.  Well, I have about 95% use of my hand.  I still about every 6-8 months have to pull out the exercises and do them for a couple of weeks to loosen up but that's a lot better than a surgery that marginally works. 

                    I am assuming your husband had a CLND.  The worry should not be so much about lymphedema as it should be infection.  The lymphedema you can control, the infection he has lost his natural ability to control in that arm and if one sets in he will be in the hospital with IV antibiotics for a very long time (I have already gotten that lecture from my GP over a VERY small cut.).

                     

                    My personal recommendation would be for him to try the physical therapy route (his surgeon will NOT be receptive) on one hand.  See how it does for him.  I hope it does as well as it did for me!

                     

                    Mary

                    Stage 3a

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