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Bowel surgery done under epidural. Having numbness down in one leg. Will it be cured?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2000
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Following. bowel surgery 4 weeks ago inder epidural I still have numbness. down one leg. The anaesthetist said it may be from being in lithotomy for 3 hours. during surgery. Imwondering. if this will recover. I dont have any problem walking.
Posted Fri, 10 Aug 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 46 minutes later
Hello there,

Thanks for writing in.

Your doctor might be right. Lithotomy position for a long duration is known to cause some amount of nerve injury. However, certain surgeries require a patient to be in the lithotomy position. Most of the time,this type of nerve injury is transient and should get better with the passage of time. In a few percentage of people ,it can persist for years. However, if the numbness gets worse or there is no improvement whatsoever, I suggest you visit a neurologist for a specialist opinion.

Hope this helps.

Dr.Divya Kuttikrishnan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Bowel surgery done under epidural. Having numbness down in one leg. Will it be cured? 13 hours later
I have another question. Im trying to get more active after my bowel surgery 4 weeks and 4 days ago. My upper back feels very fatigued and as soon as I try to do anything I feel I need to rest with back support. The pain is not sharp, just aching and "weak". Im longing to get my strength back.Could this just be my back compensating for weak abdo muscles and my tendency to lean forward when I walk?
I would appreciate your advice as Im keen to get over this as soon as I can
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 3 hours later

Your theory might be right . Another possibility again might be attributed to the llithotomy position.

I would advise you to do some light breathing exercises. Sit in a straight chair with back support, preferably in an area where there is plenty of fresh air:

inhale to the count of 4 1-2-3-4
hold your breath to the count of four 1-2-3-4
exhale to the count of four 1-2-3-4
release and hold to the count of four 1-2-3-4

Repeat this entire process for about 3 -4 times.

Some amount of leisure walking is good. Do not do any strenuous exercise as you are still recovering from your bowel surgery. Do not lift heavy weights for at least 6 months.

Please visit your physical therapist after consulting with your physician, as he/ she will be in a better position to show you some of the exercises that can be done to strengthen your muscles.

In the meantime just relax and take it easy.

Hope I have answered your question. In case you don't have any further queries, kindly accept my answer. Any reviews are welcome.

Have a great day.

Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Bowel surgery done under epidural. Having numbness down in one leg. Will it be cured? 1 hour later
Thank you for your good advice.It is interesting you have given me breathing exercises as I do feel short of breath. It concerns me but I had put it down to the operation as I didnt have this problem before and was quite fit. I Get quite puffed out after climbing stairs and even when talking I have noticed Im a bit breathless sometimes. Do I need to be concerned?
Thanks. Sorry to ask so many questions XXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 29 minutes later
No problem XXXXXX I'm here to answer your questions to the best of my ability.

Gradually increase your lung capacity, unless you are very breathless that you need to be rushed to the hospital. So, if you are not able to do the exercise I mentioned to the count of four, at least do each step to a count of two, and after a couple of days ,gradually increase it to a count of four.

Probably, right now might be the time to join for relaxation/meditation classes.
Also visit your physical therapist under the guidance of your physician.

I feel all your problems will get better with time. Don't forget you are still recovering from your surgery. It takes about one and a half to two months to completely recover.

However, if you feel severe pain, breathlessness at any time, light headedness etc, please visit your physician immediately. I hope you have a good supportive family at home.

Get well soon :)

Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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