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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: brain swelling after surgery will he make it?

 praying4kendo - Wed May 27, 2009 8:08 pm

My boyfriend went to the hospital on Tuesday because he was having trouble breathing- they found out he has a cancerous tumor by his air passage, that Friday he had surgery to have a biopsy done to see what kind of cancer, they are thinking its lymphoma- every since the surgery he has been sedated, not responsive its been five whole days now- his arms face are swollen but his legs are normal size he has a breathing tube in also. He did open his eyes yesterday-but that could have just been another twitch or reflex.. They did a cat scan which showed he had very few fat . And he is not a small guy. They did another cat scan today and its coming back that his brain is showing swelling..
I'm wondering if maybe something went wrong during surgery-for him to be unresponsive and them to keep him sedated for so long- they take the sedation off for about an hour- and if he is still unresponsive during that time they put it back on.... there could be a number of things going wrong, with them doing the cat scan and finding that his brain is in fact swollen- I'm wondering why they havent done an e.e.g. and check to see if there is any brain activity, or if he is brain dead... Its not adding up to me why he would be brain dead after a surgery- unless something went wrong, or he passed a blood clot? The nurses seem to think he is going to just wake up but that it could take a little longer.. i think 5 days for a biopsy is enough time... and that he should have been awake already if he was going to wake up.

So can you please answer this question
Do you think this is normal if he was just having a biopsy?
Or is something not normal here?
please i need closure
Thanks in advance
 John Kenyon, CNA - Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:01 pm

User avatar Hello --

While it is not uncommon for surgeries involving general anesthesia to result in failure to wake in a timely manner, it does sound as though there was some sort of problem involving the central nervous system, possibly because of the location of the tumor. Again, this sort of response, while not usual, does happen sometimes, and quite often the patient does just come around after a while. There's a lot we don't know about your boyfriend's particular case, but if his brain is swollen it would likely cause this sort of delayed waking, and could take a while to reduce the swelling, which should help clear up the comatose state. It all depends on what caused this to start with, if the trauma is understood or if it's just what's known as anesthesia idiosyncrasy. Any additional facts you can provide might help us understand why this is happening. In the meantime your support is very valuable and helpful to him, even though he may not appear to be aware of your presence. Hold good thoughts and know that this could turn out well, but there is a lot involved because of the apparent cancerous tumor, which for the time being is a secondary concern. It will have to be dealt with once he's awake again, so he's going to need a lot of support.

Again, if you can learn any additonal information it might help us to understand what's happened and why. As it is I have to assume an anesthesia-related reaction which wouldn't ordinarily cause brain swelling.

Good luck to you both, and please follow up with us here when you know more.

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