Photos of Sympathectomy Surgery in Systemic Scleroderma

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Ulcer by Jeanne N. Sympathectomy Scar by Jeanne N.
Click photos to enlarge.
Property of ISN Photo Repository. Contributed by Jeanne N.
Sympathectomy by J.M.
Sympathectomy Stitches by John M.

Commentary by Jeanne N.

Three and a half months after the ulcers began to surface on my cold purple finger, surgery became a last ditch effort before amputation. My surgeon gave me a 5% chance that this particular procedure would help relieve the constriction in my blood vessels enough to save the end of my finger. Somehow, an "unnecessary" surgery seemed better to me than a scary amputation.

I have read anything and just about everything in the medical journals and in personal experiences online relating to my condition. In theory, the procedure should also raise the finger temperature and lessen some pain. PAIN was why I was up for the procedure. Three days prior to the surgery, I had hit two # 11's on the pain scale and I could no longer control my tears.

Surgery was a breeze. I told the anesthesia folks who put the block in my armpit that I had been waiting for two months for the pain relief. I told my surgeon's right hand nurse, just moments before lala land, "Please have Dr. B cut back the nail." I remember watching the monitor as he did. Subconsciously I must have surfaced from my incoherent snooze to celebrate.

Soon after I arose from the occasion, my arm was laden with deadness. It was heaven. I was out of my room and on my way home in an hour. I spent the rest of the day napping. When I woke the next morning, pain was at a level 2! I emailed the great news to everyone who cared and got ready to get the bandages off and take a look at my "franken finger".

At the physicians office the Fellow came in to remove my bandages and ask me some questions, then a nurse came in to clean my hand. I discovered my nail was gone, the ulcer was removed, and I had an angry lightening bolt full of blue sutures, 16 of them from my second knuckle to my palm. Dr. B. came in and said, "Well, how does it feel?" I smiled and said, "Like a million bucks, doc," and my smile turned into his.

Related Links

ISN Photo Repository: Sympathectomy (Main Page) ISN.

Raynaud's Treatments: Sympathectomy ISN.

Digital Ulcers ISN.

What is Scleroderma ISN.

ISN Photo Repository: Main Page ISN.

Skin Involvement ISN.

Doni: CREST Syndrome The doctors were always interested like, "Wow look at this," but since I had no insurance, they would not touch me…

Kym: Diffuse, CREST Scleroderma, Lupus and Fibromyalgia It all started with Raynaud's in my fingers and toes when I was about nineteen years old, in 1979…

Neelam: Systemic Sclerosis (India) In December 1998 my right pointer finger started becoming blue and was hurting a lot…

Go to ISN Photo Repository: Digital Ulcer Before Sympathectomy
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