RSD and Surgery

Understanding the relationship between RSD and surgery.

When considering the relationship between RSD and surgery, there are two points that need to be considered. The first is that RSD can be diagnosed following surgery. Typically this happens when someone has injured a limb associated with cases of RSD, such as an arm, leg, foot, or hand. Though all cases of RSD are not caused by personal injury, a significant number are. Some of the injuries requiring surgery (after which RSD may be diagnosed) include head injuries, repetitive motion disorders such as carpal tunnel, sprains, fractures or broken bones.

The other point that needs considering when discussing RSD and surgery is that for some (but not all) people who have been diagnosed with RSD due to an unknown cause or injury, surgery may be an option to help alleviate the symptoms of the disease.

Qualified surgeons may perform a surgery called thoracoscopic sympathectomy. This surgery, if performed in the early stages of RSD, is said to be about 80-90% effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of the disease. This is exciting news for sufferers of RSD, whose alternative hopes lie in treatments (including topical analgesics, spinal cord stimulation, physical therapy, etc.) rather than cures.

To perform the surgery, the doctor clips the T2-T4 thoracic segment inside of the armpit. This surgery, though significant, requires a minor recovery time. Most patients are released from the hospital the same day as the surgery or the next morning, and many return to work within two to four days. As with all surgeries, complications can arise, but they are rare.

The relationship between RSD and surgery requires consideration on two levels. Surgery can both cause the disease and help the disease. Whether your RSD was caused by surgery, or whether you've had or are considering having surgery to alleviate your RSD, it may be necessary to obtain legal representation. Finding an attorney who is familiar with RSD is an important factor for the outcome of your case. RSD is a complicated disease. Don't try to face it alone. There is an attorney available who will help you get what you deserve.

Surgical Procedures and Mistakes - The RSD Factor

Regardless of the surgical procedure performed, mistakes are possible. Whether a surgeon is qualified to perform a particular surgery or not, there is never a full guarantee that a patient will come out of a procedure unharmed. Scary? Yes, but surgery is a little bit like roulette-patients take a gamble on a doctor and put their faith into him or her. They allow themselves to be "bettered" through a surgical procedure, and they hope that they come out of the surgery better than when they went in. Still, the fact is, this isn't always the case. Even the most qualified doctors with the latest equipment and knowledge cannot guarantee positive surgical outcomes.

Surgical procedures and mistakes can lead to the development of RSD, a debilitating condition.

Unfortunately, for many sufferers of RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), surgical procedures and mistakes played a part in the onset of their disease. You may wonder how this could happen. After all, if someone chooses to be an expert in his or her field, shouldn't the disease be preventable?

This is a valid point, but not always the case. Though medical professionals are trained to perform surgery in their chosen specialty, they may not be trained in the prevention of RSD. Because of this, in certain cases, doctors and nurses may fail to recognize the telltale symptoms of onset RSD.

What are the Symptoms of RSD?

In general, the symptoms of RSD vary from one person to the next. However, especially in cases involving surgical procedures and mistakes, initial symptoms to look for include an odd, intense burning in the affected area. For example, say a patient has had surgery for a bunion on his big toe. The surgery appears to have gone according to plan, but the doctor may have removed too much. The patient then starts feeling a burning sensation that radiates throughout his toe and into the rest of his foot. The burning may even travel to his leg. This pain is not consistent with the surgery he's just had. In this case, RSD should be suspected and treatment should begin immediately.

How to Avoid Surgical Procedures and Mistakes

As a patient, you cannot control mistakes made during surgery. However, it is important that you understand your rights if RSD has resulted due to a surgical mistake. The medical staff that treated you should have been aware of RSD and should have taken an aggressive approach to treat you when you first began experiencing symptoms.

If you suspect you may have gotten RSD because of surgical procedures and mistakes, there is a qualified attorney who can help you with your case. By being familiar with your disease, your attorney can help ensure no additional harm is done and that those who may have caused your condition are held responsible.

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Resource4 provides information on surgery for RSD, also known as "Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy". Page updated on 11/07/2006.