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Scar tissue post neurectomy

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  • Scar tissue post neurectomy

    My horse had his second neurectomy two weeks ago. I noticed that 3 of the incisions are nice and flat and healing well. The fourth spot is developing quite a lump of scar tissue. There's no indication of infection and the skin has healed well. They had a a bit of trouble isolating the nerve on that side so I figure it's due to excessive manipulation. I'm keeping the leg wrapped longer but is there anything else I can do? Thanks for any advice. Also, anyone wanting to blast me for this, go ahead. My horse is way happier after having it done and I have exhausted all other options.

  • #2
    Technicolor, I'm not going to blast you. I think this it the type of decision that each horse owner has to make on his own. I chose a low neurectomy for a QH we rescued from slaughter after traditional treatments for navicular disease failed. My choice was euthanasia or neurectomy, and we chose a full-anesthesia neurectomy, hoping to buy him a couple more years of comfort in his retirement. He was 18 at the time and 13 years later, he is still with us and, thank God, doing great.
    Our gelding had no problems with scarring, so I have no experience with that. I hope your horse will recover well from the procedure and have many years of comfort ahead.


    • #3
      I would call and point this out to your vet and see what they think. I too will not blast you. Sometimes it is necessary to do things such as this to give horses a life free of pain.


      • #4
        Neurectomy is a wonderful gift for some horses when you've exhausted your options. I had a bi-lateral neurectomy done on my very lame draft horse last year.

        Call your vet. The one thing you worry about with neurectomies is the formation of neuromas. Neuromas are VERY painful, so definitely run this by your vet. Here is info:
        The Horse: Neurectomy

        I was told that keeping the horse quiet (stall rest) for the first 30 days post op was super important as it could minimize neuroma formation. Hopefully you are just dealing with some scar tissue or some non-issue.


        • Original Poster

          Hey thanks everybody for your posts. I am going to run this by my vet. I don't care so much about the scarring, more that it could be a roadblock when the nerve regrows and increase neuroma formation or the nerve growing around a blood vessel. Course at two weeks out it could still be residual swelling too. The other sites just look so good.


          • #6
            After my horse's neurectomy I couldn't even find the incisions save for the one tiny stitch, and there never was any swelling. My vet stressed stall rest and had me paint the sites with DMSO/cortisone in order to prevent neuroma formation or irritation, and knock on wood all healed well. Did your vet have you do the DMSO/cortisone too?

            Since you say no sign of infection I'm assuiming there's no heat and the horse is not sensitive to palpation there? Is the lump exactly at the incision point or elsewhere? I do think a call to the vet is in order as neuromas aren't the only scary complication. My vet went over the possibility of failure of surrounding structures, and hopefully that's not what you've got but I'd be very worried. Fingers crossed for you.


            • Original Poster

              How far after surgery did you start the DMSO/cortisone? Please tell me a little more about this, did you just use an OTC cortisone or something from your vet? My other three incisions look like yours did. This lump isn't warm and not sore to the horse. I figure it is way too early for neuromas to start and I did do the laser method this time. Thanks for any advice.


              • #8
                I started the DMSO/cortisone immediately. The vet gave me a bottle (with a little pump sprayer on top) of it when I took my horse home from the clinic. He took a syringe with liquid cortisone, I'm guessing maybe the kind they use in joint injections, and dispensed it into the liquid DMSO, screwed the top back on and shook it up. I later spilled it on myself and it gave a lovely warming sensation and numbed feeling in my hand for a bit, but didn't really sting to badly on a cut that I had.

                Anyway, before I left the clinic they changed his bandages, sprayed with the DMSO/cortisone, and reapplied the gauze and vetrap to show me how. I changed it daily thereafter for about 2 weeks if I recall correctly. He was confined to his stall for a month, then I let him have the stall and the overhang, 12x24 area, then gradually gave him a little more area, so that by the end of the 3rd month he was back on turnout.

                What was the reason for the 2nd neurectomy? Did neuromas form the first time around? My vet never mentioned how quickly or slowly they could form, so I didn't know they could form early post-op. I'd definitely want to rule them out, but also would be very worried about DDFT failure. My vet was very honest and even shared a personal horror story with me when we did the consultation, and that is one of the possible outcomes. I don't mean to be Henny Penny here with the worst case scenario...it could be something less benign like granulated tissue growing inside the incision site, but at any rate you need a vet pronto.


                • Original Poster

                  I was told neuromas form about six months after surgery when the nerves start to grow back. However, I know of one horse that had them earlier. It's only been 2 1/2 weeks since surgery. My horse was originally nerved two years ago but I started having problems this summer ( I think because I listened to my vet who wanted me to switch back to regular shoes from the wedge, started to set things off). When I rewrap tomorrow I'll see if it's gone down. I'm quite interested in the cortisone/DMSO. How long ago did you have your horse nerved?


                  • #10
                    It's been 2 years. He never had any swelling post-op or at any time after.

                    How big is the lump in question? Did you call the vet yet? I think with so many possibilities that's the only way to go to be sure everything is OK. That way you can ask your vet about doing the DMSO/cortisone as well.

                    Good luck, and I hope it's nothing.


                    • Original Poster

                      Can't call him till Monday (doesn't do any emergency call and doesn't work fridays ... pretty sweet deal huh). Definitely going to ask about the cortisone though. Maybe just run over and ultrasound it to be safe. Hopefully it will be gone in the morning. Will update.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Technicolor View Post
                        I was told neuromas form about six months after surgery when the nerves start to grow back. However, I know of one horse that had them earlier. It's only been 2 1/2 weeks since surgery. My horse was originally nerved two years ago but I started having problems this summer ( I think because I listened to my vet who wanted me to switch back to regular shoes from the wedge, started to set things off). When I rewrap tomorrow I'll see if it's gone down. I'm quite interested in the cortisone/DMSO. How long ago did you have your horse nerved?
                        I personally had a neuroma develop only weeks following surgery to reduce an existing neuroma in my hand. The first sign that I had something wrong was a lump of scar tissue that formed nearly immediately after surgery. It was extraordinarily painful and I had to have another surgery to fix the problem.

                        If he's not tender, that probably not what's going on, but it IS possible for neuromas to form very quickly.