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Lung Cancer

Fluid retention

08/18/2008

Question:

3/10/08 Thoroscopy % Mediastinoscopy 3/24/08 Thoracotomy(should have been VATs) (lower lobe removed - nodule stage II). Right after surgery I started retaining water (arms, belly, hands, legs, feet etc.)It stopped with no medications 3 weeks later. After 4 months of surgery I`m again retaining water and a recent Chest CT showed small amount of fluid in what`s left of my right lung. Called the surgeon and he said I should see my family doctor? Is fluid retention a side effect of surgery? I`m still in pain from the surgery I`m afraid that I have post thoracotomy paid symdrome, surgeon says I should not worry that the pain should go away in a couple of months (it`s been 4 months + now!!! Should I see a pain management specialist? Who should I see for the fluid retention? Thank you, Best regards.

Answer:

Thank you for your question. It is not uncommon for patients to develop fluid retention in the perioperative period (secondary to fluid shifts and administration of intravenous fluids). However, as in your case most should resolve within a few weeks. If you are now retaining fluid 4 months after your surgery there may be another cause which should be evaluated by your internist. In regards to pain at your previous surgical site, this can persist for a few months postoperatively. Often the best approach is to have your surgeon, internist and if necessary a pain management specialist working together to come up with the best plan possible.

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Response by:

Patrick  Nana-Sinkam, MD Patrick Nana-Sinkam, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University