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Date of last update: 8/19/2017.

Forum Name: Surgery Topics

Question: catheter removal after 3 years

 jean123 - Thu May 24, 2007 5:38 pm

I had an epidural for a c-section 3 years ago and the catheter became detached from the tube after the 3rd day. Then it was forgotten--until this year when i really started wondering what the bump on my back was.

How complicated is the removal going to be? Because it involves my spine, i'm very concerned. Has the catheter already become one with my body? Or does this sound like a simple procedure?

I'm pregnant now and will have to wait for at least 5 months before i see a surgeon, so that's why i'm asking first.

 Marceline F, RN - Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:43 am

User avatar Dear Jean123,
If you have not been symptomatic for the past 3 years (meaning you have not experienced any neurologically centered problems - such as pain, numbness, tingling, loss of motor control), I would venture that at this moment the catheter part still left in your body is not at this moment any immediate danger to you. I would surmise that you have been leading a normal life since your C-section, and have not restricted your movements -since you did not know the catheter was there. However, since you are now pregnant, I would ask your OB/GYN if it would be wise to list you as a high-risk pregnancy, and keep a special eye on your activities.
As far as the removal process goes, a neurologist, or a neurosurgeon may be the highest authority you can consult to address the actual process of the removal. A lot will depend on in which caudal space the catheter tip lies, and whether the tip is bent or "grown" into the body as you fear. There are diagnostic tests that can determine this. If your doctors are reassuring you that it is safe to wait the 5 months to delivery, they may know the answers to the questions I mentioned. Please ask them to clearly tell you their input on the risks and the benefits of this whole procedure.

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