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A 39-year-old female asked:

5 days ago i had neck surgery. fusion of the c4, c5 & c6. since leaving the hospital i've had a significant weight gain, 10 lbs. i also feel and appear very bloated, almost pregnant. is this normal and when will i loose this?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Fung
General Surgery 39 years experience
Although : Although you do not provide information as to your overall health and other conditions you may have, it sounds as if you are experiencing post-operative ileus following the spine surgery. Ileus is a fairly common problem after surgery caused by slowed peristalsis/decreased GI motility from activation of inhibitory reflexes, release of inflammatory mediators, decreased mobility, decreased fluid intake, and particularly worsened by narcotic (opioid) use for pain control. Symptoms of ileus include abdominal distention, pain, bloating, cessation of bowel movements, absence of flatus, nausea, vomiting. This can be confirmed by examination and/or a flat plate x-ray of the abdomen. The treatment of ileus is increasing mobility (i.e. Walking), decreasing narcotic use, use of suppositories to stimulate bowel movements. On occasion, a patient may need to have a tube placed into the stomach to decompressed the distended bowel and kept on IV fluids until the ileus resolves.
Dr. Edward Hellman
Orthopedic Surgery 29 years experience
Not normal: I would say it is definitely not normal. You may need to be checked. Some patients who have surgery get a lot of IV fluids and this can cause swelling and weight gain after surgery that the patient gradually urinates out after surgery. But an acdf is a relatively minor surgery, so it would be unusual to have gotten a lot of fluid. You should get a medical check up. Thank you for your question.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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