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Author Topic: Drop foot after mastectomy!  (Read 937 times)

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Offline bed13

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Drop foot after mastectomy!
« on: July 01, 2013, 09:11:54 PM »
Hi All,
I had a prophylactic mastectomy last week with an immediate reconstruction using tissue transplanted from my inner thigh. I agreed to a number of possible side effects but not to wake up to find my left leg and foot totally numb below the knee!

Surgeon said I had probably compressed the peroneal nerve against the table during the op and they had not warned me drop foot was possibility as it had never happened to anyone before.
I have been given a night splint, crutches and a splint to wear with shoes to help me walk but so far (10 days later) that has been it. They say it will spontaneously recover within 6 months.

Reading information on the internet I am starting to think recovery is likely to be anywhere between a few weeks and a year and may not be total. Also it seems this is a well known hazard and that if I was being placed in a knee bent, inner thigh exposed, position for 6 or 7 hours while anesthetised they should have taken precautions to prevent damage to the peroneal nerve.

Bad enough having to cope with cancer and a mastectomy/reconstruction last year and a preventative mastectomy this year without this too. I wonder if I have a case for medical negligence?

Any advice anyone on recovery times, physio exercises ( I haven't even seen one yet) and possible complaints to the surgeon?

I Knew I shouldn't have agreed to be in bed 13!! Thanks all.

Offline Lottiefox

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Re: Drop foot after mastectomy!
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 07:22:54 AM »
Oh goodness, I am so sorry you've got this added complication, unfortunately sometimes surgeons seem a little oblivious to the real side effects that can happen albeit rarely. I had complications with nerve related issues after foot surgery (not the same as yours) but was fortunate to get a good treatment regime in place quickly.

I'd suggest a couple of things. Ask to see a Physio experienced in lower limb rehab issue asap. You need to start working on muscles and gait and function. If this isn't provided through your current provision (are you UK or US based) then it might be worth seeking a private PT who can help.

Nerves can take a long time to recover from being bruised or compressed. Monitor the sensations and if you do feel that things are not showing any improvement over the forthcoming months ask to see a peripheral nerve specialist. They are right in saying it is a lengthy process but you do also need to monitor how things go. It is hard to predict but many people on here have issues with numb areas after knee surgery that do recover. Of course yours is complicated by the foot drop.

As regards negligence, I'm not sure. You could ask for a second opinion as to whether preventative measures were something that should have been taken or see a solicitor for some advice but you might want to see how recovery goes and focus on getting function back first.

Finally - there is a member on here kcknee who has had issues with nerve function and foot drop following an ACL reconstruction Again, not the same as yours but she might be able to help. I will direct here to your post or when you have 20 posts on here you cam send a private message. Playing some games down on the Games section will soon put your post count up!

Good luck and I hope things improve :-)
Bilateral patella OA since 2009, no surgeries.
Euflexxa working well x3 to current
Right forefoot CRPS post fusion surgery 2011
Refusing to let the ailing parts stop me....

Offline bed13

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Re: Drop foot after mastectomy!
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 01:44:13 PM »
Many thanks for your reply Lottiefox! I have today banged my fist and insisted on seeing a physio this week, so I have an appointment day after tomorrow. I shall make enquiries and see how unusual this sort of injury is and see whether there is a case for further action, though to be honest I just want to get it sorted. At least I should find out what sort of things I can be doing to speed my recovery - or whether it is just a case of patience.  I have been out walking today and just getting out of the house after 10 days has done me good!
Thanks for your good wishes.

Offline Hiker girl

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Re: Drop foot after mastectomy!
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 05:40:20 PM »
There is a surgical nurse in the room at all times taking notes on the surgery.  You could start with that to get more information.
Rt. knee pain while hiking 08/10
Saw GP 04/11
PT 05/11  failed
MRI  clean 06/11
1st OS, nothing wrong, fired him.
2nd OS, cortisone shot 12/11 
Scope 05/12, fat pad impingement, cleaned and reshaped.
3rd and 4th OS think nerve problem
Nerve study June 2012, Femoral nerve damage

Offline kcknee

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Re: Drop foot after mastectomy!
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2013, 11:00:44 PM »
I'm really sorry that you have to now put up with nerve damage on top of the mastectomy. I developed foot drop slowly after surgery due to scar tissue building up and strangling the nerve. I did a lot of research and figured out what was going on and had the nerve surgically released.

Check out this thread:

Iread through it when I was investigating my own situation. These members have situations much closer to what you're going through. From what I remember, most were post-surgical, trauma or compression. Mine was much simpler and once the scar tissue was removed the nerve recovered.


12/31/08 - Skiing injury L knee
6/1/09 - ACL stump removed from joint
8/31/09 - ACLr - Hamstring Graft
12/21/09 - Ant Fasciotomy 
8/26/10 - Anterior Interval Release
12/6/10, 5/5/11, 12/22/11 - Fasciotomy
12/7/12 - Nerve Decompression
6/3/13(m), 7/29/13(l), 12/13/13(m & foot) 2/3/14(l) Fasciotomy