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Vets,

I have seen about 5 or so people in the years that have posted about their postop horner's syndrome.

From what I gather, and what my NS told me, as long as the nerves (sympathetic) were not damaged during surgery, but merely stretched beyond what they liked, things will go back to normal.

It *SOUNDS* like the normal recovery time is anywhere from 1-3 months. I'm about 1.5 months in but no relief in sight. (no pun intended!)

For those that don't know, Horner's is a syndrome in which there is a triad of symptoms :

Droopy eyelid (the muscle that holds it up not working quite right)
Not sweating on that side of the head
A pupil that does not dialate properly in dim light

Soo.. Any of you old vets that had it post op... Is it gone? How long did it take? Was it an overnight thing and it was gone or was it gradual (very I'm assuming)

Thanks!!!
[QUOTE=feelbad]i too have had horners since two weeks post op from a spinal cord surgery,it just "appeared one evening while I was in the rehab hospital and had just been transferred from my surgical hospital the day before.I was indeed rather shocked and scared to death that I had either some sort of spinal fluid leak at the op site of my spinal cord or was having a stroke.my L pupil was and still is,now over two years post op still very constricted.i suffered actual permanent damage to my SNS at the c 8 spinal nerve level.along with a huge list of other damage.I also have a droopy R lid and the lower lid of the L eye is also droopy too.it looks kind of like a sort of swelled lower lid?? thats the best i can describe it right now.all of the droopy crap is always worse when I am really tired.I don't know why both of my lids in both eyes ended up somewhat effected.no one really can tell me that part of it.tho I have regained some ability to sweat on my afected side,the actual constrictionof the pupil and the droopy crap will never go away from what i have been told.

just what part of your SNS was affected that triggered the horners?Or what did you have surgey on that triggered the damage?

all it takes is to have "something' hit or damage some area of your SNS to result in horners.horners is actually a symptom of sns damage.i also have other problems that i have been dealing with besides the horners that are actually attributed to just the actual SNS damage.mine will never go away at anytime.were you told that yours would actually somehow eventually resolve itself?considering the horrid widespread nerve and spinal tract damage that is causing all kinds of secondary conditions and godawful pain syndromes,the horners really IS pretty low on my big list of real concerns.I mean it really doesn't actually cause or really affect any big things in me,and since there really is no actual treatment for this,I really don't think about this particular syndrome too much.

what is your actual medical problem or damage?Marcia[/QUOTE]

Marcia,

I am REALLY sorry to hear about your horners syndrome.

Let me give you the quick version :)

I had surgery (ACDF C5/6) on February 27th.

Three days after surgery when I was home, I looked in the mirror and saw a droopy eye lid and a SMALL (I mean VERY) pupil on the right side. That is where I had my incision. All the work was done from the right side.

I, like you, was beyond scared. On the way to the hospital, after freaking ou t and starting to sweat, I found that I did not sweat on that side of the forehead. Made me feel even better! (At this time, I had no idea what was wrong with me keep in mind). I don't think I noticed the droopy eye lid at this time, but it was there.

I was told by my NS and a Neuorlogist at the hospital that as long as my nerves were not INJURED during the surgery, chances are things would go back to normal - it would just be a bit.

And I've grown VERY impatient over the past month and a half waiting for a change. It was amazing to watch my pupil actually grow in the dark for the first time - albiet at a VERY VERY slow rate. It still doesn't get as big as the other, but it does happen.

In regards to your condition, if it was brought on during surgery, I would imagine the same holds true for you? If you weren't injured, perhaps it will go back? Nerves apparently heal an INCH a month. If you were stretched / hit low in the SNS, perhaps it is just taking its time? I would also imagine ANY recovery of the three symptoms (sweating, drooping, dialation) must be encouraging? And also a sign of future recovery?

I'll certainly continue to post any updates here.

Please feel free to check back and best of luck to you!

While it is not a "medical" condition in terms of actually effecting something like eyesight, it is VERY difficult to deal with - I know first hand.
ya know,the same thing happened to me immediately post op after that surgery.all I
remeber when waking up is all these people talking about how crazy my heart rate and rythems were.and they were giving me all kind of meds to try and stabilize my heart.I have NEVER ever had any sort of heart problems before that,never.and after that one episode,my heart has been fine,with absolutely no problems at all.my family was going a bit crazy as my NS had gone out right after my surgery was over to let them know how i was and about the hit and lost nerves I suffered.they ended up having to actually wait two more hours before they were even allowed to see me because they had spent all that time trying to stabilize things.it really was bizarre.

in answer to your first question,yes.you can have sns damage without the para being involved,it all has to do with what actual symptoms you are displaying that would indicate just what is or is not involved.the sns chain actually runs down along BOTH sides of the vertebral column not just the R side.I do believe if i remeber correctly it stops somewhere at the lumbar area,cant remeber for sure tho.

if you just google"sympathetic chain"or "sympathetic nervous system"it will bring you to some very informative sites which will explain things much better than I can,believe me,lol.

I am pretty sure from what my NS explained to me about how they had to do the surgery,that it was definitely damaged not just stretched.my surgery involved having to actually open up the spinal cord itself,and then very very carefully ick out this glob of blood vessels that had formed at the junction of the c7-T 1 area.i suffered massive damage to mostly the thalamic tract(this is where the cavernoma sat inside of my cord,this tract also 'holds" the pain pathway to the pain receptors in the brain which is causing all my pain signals to be deranged as they pass thru it)and the C 8 nerve as the cav sat right underneath it.I also suffered alot of other damage which was just unavoidable due to the location of the cavernoma so they had to pass thru some nerves just to get to it.The only reason I had to have it removed was because it kept getting little bleeds that would have ended up totally paralyzing me from the chest down.It was either have it removed under more cotrolled circumstances or wait til it bled again and then the paralyzation and any other damage would have been permanent.I chose the lessor of the two evils.I really do feel rather lucky tho when I think about just what could have happened.

My NS told me at the outset that there were three possible scenerios that could happen during the surgery.one,they would open up the cord only to find that it would have been too dangerous to even attempt it so thay would just close me up and do nothing.# two,they would go in and only start the process or be halfway thru it,and then possibly lose nerves on the monitor and then have to stop the whole surgery for a couple minutes to see if they came back.if they did then they would continue the removal but trying from just a bit different angle.if they lost them again,the surgery would stop completely as it would be too dangerous for them to proceed.so i would still have some of the cavernoma left inside.number three would have been the best case scenerio and the one I was hoping for.it would be that they would be able to get everything out with minimal damage.I knew I would have damage as they did have to go thru the nerves to my legs and the fine motor in my hands.so I knew that going in.I just didn't know how bad it was going to be til post op,but was told that I would require rehab.as it turned out,the second scenerio was pretty much it.I did suffer the expected damage and the loss of the nerves that went to my feet.one nerve camse back and one didn't so they had to stop the surgery at that point.luckily they had managed to actually get most of the cavernoma leaving only about ten percent behind.

It was,as you can imagine a rather excruciating recovery.when your NS tells you that you will experience some 'very extreme pain" post op,believe him.he ain't a kiddin there.Tho I still have damage to my legs I did regain the ability to actually walk again despite the L leg really taking a huge hit.but the loss of my fine motor in my L hand is pretty much a permanent thing.I did lose eight of the intrinsic muscles there that are no longer innervated and are now atrophied.like I said,it could have been much worse.i do have some widespread sns damage symptoms that have showen themselves in many ways,so my NS feels that my sns is permanently damaged to some extent.after two and a half years,if there was going to be any improvement,there would have been more indication by relief of those symptoms or some sort of improvement by now.This is just my particular case tho.everyones case is indeed different and also the ways in which any given nerve damage will show itself when it is combined with other tract and nerve damage.i feel like a freak really.my body just not respond the way it should with regard to many many different areas.

Hopefully any damage will reverse itself for you over time.like you stated,it does take a very long time for nerve damage to repair,if it does at all.that time frame also varies alot too for many reasons but mostly the extent of actual damage.I do hope things will go well for you.marcia
[QUOTE=feelbad]ya know,the same thing happened to me immediately post op after that surgery.all I
remeber when waking up is all these people talking about how crazy my heart rate and rythems were.and they were giving me all kind of meds to try and stabilize my heart.I have NEVER ever had any sort of heart problems before that,never.and after that one episode,my heart has been fine,with absolutely no problems at all.my family was going a bit crazy as my NS had gone out right after my surgery was over to let them know how i was and about the hit and lost nerves I suffered.they ended up having to actually wait two more hours before they were even allowed to see me because they had spent all that time trying to stabilize things.it really was bizarre.

in answer to your first question,yes.you can have sns damage without the para being involved,it all has to do with what actual symptoms you are displaying that would indicate just what is or is not involved.the sns chain actually runs down along BOTH sides of the vertebral column not just the R side.I do believe if i remeber correctly it stops somewhere at the lumbar area,cant remeber for sure tho.

if you just google"sympathetic chain"or "sympathetic nervous system"it will bring you to some very informative sites which will explain things much better than I can,believe me,lol.

I am pretty sure from what my NS explained to me about how they had to do the surgery,that it was definitely damaged not just stretched.my surgery involved having to actually open up the spinal cord itself,and then very very carefully ick out this glob of blood vessels that had formed at the junction of the c7-T 1 area.i suffered massive damage to mostly the thalamic tract(this is where the cavernoma sat inside of my cord,this tract also 'holds" the pain pathway to the pain receptors in the brain which is causing all my pain signals to be deranged as they pass thru it)and the C 8 nerve as the cav sat right underneath it.I also suffered alot of other damage which was just unavoidable due to the location of the cavernoma so they had to pass thru some nerves just to get to it.The only reason I had to have it removed was because it kept getting little bleeds that would have ended up totally paralyzing me from the chest down.It was either have it removed under more cotrolled circumstances or wait til it bled again and then the paralyzation and any other damage would have been permanent.I chose the lessor of the two evils.I really do feel rather lucky tho when I think about just what could have happened.

My NS told me at the outset that there were three possible scenerios that could happen during the surgery.one,they would open up the cord only to find that it would have been too dangerous to even attempt it so thay would just close me up and do nothing.# two,they would go in and only start the process or be halfway thru it,and then possibly lose nerves on the monitor and then have to stop the whole surgery for a couple minutes to see if they came back.if they did then they would continue the removal but trying from just a bit different angle.if they lost them again,the surgery would stop completely as it would be too dangerous for them to proceed.so i would still have some of the cavernoma left inside.number three would have been the best case scenerio and the one I was hoping for.it would be that they would be able to get everything out with minimal damage.I knew I would have damage as they did have to go thru the nerves to my legs and the fine motor in my hands.so I knew that going in.I just didn't know how bad it was going to be til post op,but was told that I would require rehab.as it turned out,the second scenerio was pretty much it.I did suffer the expected damage and the loss of the nerves that went to my feet.one nerve camse back and one didn't so they had to stop the surgery at that point.luckily they had managed to actually get most of the cavernoma leaving only about ten percent behind.

It was,as you can imagine a rather excruciating recovery.when your NS tells you that you will experience some 'very extreme pain" post op,believe him.he ain't a kiddin there.Tho I still have damage to my legs I did regain the ability to actually walk again despite the L leg really taking a huge hit.but the loss of my fine motor in my L hand is pretty much a permanent thing.I did lose eight of the intrinsic muscles there that are no longer innervated and are now atrophied.like I said,it could have been much worse.i do have some widespread sns damage symptoms that have showen themselves in many ways,so my NS feels that my sns is permanently damaged to some extent.after two and a half years,if there was going to be any improvement,there would have been more indication by relief of those symptoms or some sort of improvement by now.This is just my particular case tho.everyones case is indeed different and also the ways in which any given nerve damage will show itself when it is combined with other tract and nerve damage.i feel like a freak really.my body just not respond the way it should with regard to many many different areas.

Hopefully any damage will reverse itself for you over time.like you stated,it does take a very long time for nerve damage to repair,if it does at all.that time frame also varies alot too for many reasons but mostly the extent of actual damage.I do hope things will go well for you.marcia[/QUOTE]

Wow.

I'm not even sure what to say after reading all that.

The best I can say is that I certainly have learned alot from the information you have gathered through the years and I truely hope for the best outcome for you!!!
i can definitely relate to the waking up and just being thankful that I could wiggle toes and feel things.i knew I was in for very certain damage from what my NS had told me before so even feeling at all was great.unfortuently I was not aware of how extensive my overall damage was til I actually was allowed to be in any other postiton besides flat on my back after the first four days(that really sucked,alot)as soon as I went to stand up,not only did my BPs just start crashing down into the 80s but as soon as I actually placed any wieght on my L foot,my ankle and leg just folded.i had like lost all stability and couldn't even really use my L leg at all.that was a real eye opener.I just had assumed that if i could actually still feel the leg and move it around while I was lying flat that I could actually use it to walk.not so.it all just depends on how and what is really damaged.

you know,the way you are actually explaining your particular symptoms funny,it does sound like you really did suffer at least some actual cord/tract damage not 'just nerve"type damage.that balance thing? is that still with you or did that finally dissapate?if its gone now,I am willing to bet here,just because the spinocerebellar tract actually governs your ability to recognize your 'body' and its positional sense,that that tract was either(if you still have the symptoms)damaged or somehow hit or affected in some way from your surgery.i have damage to the SC tract and have problems with knowing where my legs are when my eyes are shut?? just creepy really.but i also have gait and balance problems as well.

It just really does sound from what you have stated here that your spinal cord was definitely affected in some ways.do you still have or gotten any new symptoms that are a bit weird?

You know,when I woke up from that spinal cord surgery,It really didn't make any sense to me at the time,but the first thing i remember feeling was very extreme pain in my L foot,the leg that had the stability problem?I had absolutely no problems or any sort of pain in this leg what so ever before my surgery,absolutely none,but i woke up with the most godawful horrible pain in that foot,it felt like someone had been just slamming my ankle with a flippin hammer while I was under.geez that sucker just hurt like hell.i found out later on that one of the nerves that was hit and lost was this one that went to my feet,one came back on the monitor and the other one didn't.It was just sooo freaky tho as I had no pain there pre op,but man was it ever excruciating uopn awakening in recovery.i still get that over the top pain there when I wake up in the mornings sometimes.I don't know why.but i rub it a little bit and within minutes,its just gone completely like it had never ever been there.starnge.but this only happens every once in a while and never during the day at all,only when I have been sleeping overnight.its just there,and then gone.I have alot of freaky crap like this happen ever since the damage was done to my cord.neuro weirdness that I never ever would have thought even existed before my SCI

what exactly did your NS tell you was the actual extent of your damage with regard to your spinal nerves and any possible tract damage?My NS never actually came out and told me what tracts were damaged til I had gone and researched the hell out of all of the symptoms and other nasty crap I was dealing with.I guess they just don't think as a patient that you would care about the specifics,well I do.when I would mention what I thought was going on with specific tracts,he would confirm it all for me.it really IS good to know the true extent of what your real damage is.i know just knowing why certain things were happening and all the other stuff that was going on,was not me going crazy,it all was very much explained by the damaged tracts and spinal nerves,and of course, the SNS.

researching the spinal tracts was really really interesting tho.I never really realized just how much stuff that governs every single sense and function ran thru the actual cord.i also never knew that our ability to just kind of actually recognize "yourself?" was related to a tract in the spinal cord.i mean you just assume that you are here,you know what I mean?quite the little eye opener really.I have had to become very well versed in neuroanatomy just to be able to bring some sort of sanity in to an insane body that kind of does what it wants to these days.i hope things continue to improve for you.marcia





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