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cauterization grounding pad caused meralgia paresthetica

Posted In: Medical Stories 10 Replies
  • Posted By: Joe Vincent
  • July 13, 2009
  • 04:27 PM

On February 19th, 2009 I was awoken with extreme stomach pain. Within a few hours I was at the emergency room and diagnosed with appendicitis. Another couple hours later and I was in surgery to have it removed. The next morning the doctor came to check in and see how I was doing. I was still in pain more from the surgery than the appendix I think. I also noted a numbness in my left thigh and asked the doctor what was that from. Where the numbness was, my thigh had been shaved to allow contact for a dissapating pad used for the cauterization of the appendix area. The doctor was not sure what had caused the numbness but assured me that it would restore back naturally. After my one week checkup, I still had numbness so I went to see a Pain specialist and a neurologist. Both had diagnosed me with meralgia paresthetica, but could not offer more insight as to how it was caused. One thought is that the doctor had compressed the nerve on my left hip while during the surgery, or maybe the grounding pad somehow caused it. Here I am 5 months later and the numbness is still there. I have searched the web to try and find similar cases to no avail. Has anyone experienced this or similar situation before?

Joe Vincent

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  • I'm 6 months on from a hernia surgery, and have similar numbness--well, actually a combination of numbness and tingling and pain. I asked the surgeon the other day what might cause it and he told me about the use of electrosurgery and the grounding pad. He explained that the current involved can damage nerves as it travels out of the body, passing through the nerve-filled skin, to the ground. About 1% of electrosurgery patients have such numbness, but the nerves usually grow back. After 6 months, though, the damage may be permanent. Oh well.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 29, 2010
    • 11:49 PM
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  • After about 8 months, I did regain sensation back in my thigh. Good luck!
    Joe Vincent 1 Replies
    • August 30, 2010
    • 03:02 PM
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  • On February 19th, 2009 I was awoken with extreme stomach pain. Within a few hours I was at the emergency room and diagnosed with appendicitis. Another couple hours later and I was in surgery to have it removed. The next morning the doctor came to check in and see how I was doing. I was still in pain more from the surgery than the appendix I think. I also noted a numbness in my left thigh and asked the doctor what was that from. Where the numbness was, my thigh had been shaved to allow contact for a dissapating pad used for the cauterization of the appendix area. The doctor was not sure what had caused the numbness but assured me that it would restore back naturally. After my one week checkup, I still had numbness so I went to see a Pain specialist and a neurologist. Both had diagnosed me with meralgia paresthetica, but could not offer more insight as to how it was caused. One thought is that the doctor had compressed the nerve on my left hip while during the surgery, or maybe the grounding pad somehow caused it. Here I am 5 months later and the numbness is still there. I have searched the web to try and find similar cases to no avail. Has anyone experienced this or similar situation before? Joe Vincentdear joe, my daughter had appendicitus, and next day appendictomy, i was with her when she woke up from the opperation , and to my suprise she sat up and started to shout about the pain in the top of her leg. at first i thought she may be confused, but to sit up (bend the area to which has just been opperated on?). a few days went on, she was obviously in extreme agony, i knew from having 3 cesaerean sections that by the end of day 3 you are feeling that you are healing, but she wasn't , she would scream if you tried to moove her, and ofcourse the doctors tried to , to ascertain the problem. to be fair, they gave her every test under the sun, but although normally pretty eloquent for a 10 year old, her discription of where the pain was coming from varied and was vague, i and they wondered nerves? she had one of those big donut scans and nothing showed up. so, as all tests proved nothing was wrong, she was discharged (on xmas eve). she could not walk, she could not be carried to the toilet even without agony that could last for up to an hour. she was scared to go back to the hospital as the doctors wanted to bend her leg this way and that just to see how she screamed and also, she knew, they didn't believe her and thought she was making it all up. we drove back to the hospital with me promising to not let a doctor moove her 'just to see if it hurt' that they would take my word for it , or i would get between them and her, i am 4 foot 10 inches and not naturally assertive in these situations. however, on return, one doctor found the 'meralgia' connection on the web and she was rushed back into surgery to inject some kind of steroids into the area around her appendix scar. they told me it might take up to three weeks to work, and it explained why no other painkillers had effected her. luckily in this hospital a relative is allowed, supposed to stay there 24-7. luckily cos at one point she had an injection and i was able to recognise anophalactic shock enough to allert them when she fell unconscious. the best part is that it made her mind up that she wants to be a paediatrician when she grows up, one who listens to the children. she still gets discomfort, but not pain. and at the time in hospital there were areas that were also numb. i find it important to share these things as people can feel so alone as inexplicable oddities, but i find out that appendictomy and meralghia is not that rare, not common, but not rare- if it was not for the web- they would probably be still thinking of mooving her leg up and down to see if it hurts. hope you get better, j
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 15, 2010
    • 10:58 AM
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  • I too had surgery and woke that night with the tingling in my right thigh. It wasn't really painful - just sort of annoying. It lasted for only 12 days. Just before I returned to work (in an Operating Room) I had the thought that it might be from the grounding pad. I checked with the nurse who was there during my surgery and sure enought, that's where the grounding pad was. I had no burns, it just felt like I had some type of numbing lotion on my skin. As I said, it went away within 12 days with no residual tingling.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • After about 8 months, I did regain sensation back in my thigh. Good luck!curious, Vincent, I had a groin lymph node removed about 2 months ago, i was diagnoses with meralgia paresthica They told me takes 1 inch/per month from numbing area to incisioin area...is that what it took for you?? im stressing out big time. thanks for your reply
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I've got news for all of you; it can get worse. I had open heart surgery in 2005 and was so dazed I did not notice the discomfort until I got home. It was like a burn without discoloration, as well as an odd parasthesia (numbness). It has increased and decreased over the years. However, I had an emergency gall bladder operation in March and as I realized where they were placing the pad, it was too late: I was under anesthesia. This is the beginning of September and it feels like raw skin all over again. I have tried heat, cold, lidocaine, etc. I can't find relief and it is twice as bad as ever.
    aescalapeus 1 Replies
    • September 2, 2012
    • 02:59 AM
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  • 8 years ago I was circumcised as an adult under general anesthetic with a diathermy pad on my left leg. I woke up and my left thigh was numb. A few days after coming home from the hospital I stopped the pain killers and I woke up one morning feeling as if someone stuck a knife in my leg. Since then I was diagnosed with MP and sleep with a bed cradle to keep the covers off. No solution...
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • August 18, 2014
    • 06:59 AM
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  • I had a ingrown toenail removed and then cauterization. I am still having pain a week later. Is this from the cauterization? I've had toenails removed before without cauterization and didn't have this pain.
    Anonymous 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I had a grounding pad on my left thigh yesterday and today I feel like I've got a dead leg and I've got pains (like sciatica) running down my left leg. Hoping it wears off. None of this was explained before I had the procedure done.
    Anonymous 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I had keyhole surgery two weeks ago and I have an area on the right outer thigh of altered sense of touch, a painful sort of tingling, which sounds a lot like the reports here. It's not too bad, e.g. I can be distracted but uncomfortable at times e.g. when I walk (and the skin brushed by moving clothing). I will mention it to the surgeon.
    Anonymous 1 Replies
    • October 4, 2016
    • 05:39 PM
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