or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › 2nd surgery (to repair problems from the 1st)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

2nd surgery (to repair problems from the 1st)

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
So I'm going in for my second surgery on Tuesday to repair the misalignment in the healing of my right leg. It's been 6 weeks since I shattered my lower right leg and things haven't been going very well. Unfortunately the segmented fracture and the swelling made it difficult for my surgeon to get my leg "parts" lined up correctly during the first surgery. I now have a 15 degree inward twist of my lower leg that pretty much will relegate me to a permanent snow plow if I ever try to ski again. So with my dream of some day skiing again I've opted for this second surgery to correct the problem. It took multiple appointments to convince the doctors to fix me (that's a whole other story).

Ideally they'll be able to remove the 2 lower screws in the rod and be able to rotate my lower leg around the rod to fix the rotation. Of course this means that I'm erasing about 3-4 weeks of recovery time I've already booked, but I felt it was a small price to pay to at least have a chance to ski again.

However, they said that depending on how much healing has occurred they may have to re-break my leg by removing some of the healing bone in order to be able to rotate my lower leg around the titanium rod - sounds like fun doesn't it? Other possible complications are that my ankle (which is fractured also) may not have healed enough and could "fall apart" (the docs words, not mine) as they attempt to rotate my leg. Then there's also the possibility that the rotation could create a new fracture - and finally the remote possibility that they will have to open up my knee again to replace the titanium rod if things really aren't working well during the operation.

After 6 weeks I finally have back about 80-85% of the range of motion in my knee. If they have to open it back up I think I'm gonna scream. It's taken a ton of work just to get to this point, but I cringe every time I look down my leg at my foot and see it twisted to the inside.

So I'll have 2 doctors this time (one a renowned Denver specialist) for the operation and they said it may take double the time compared to the first operation. If all goes well then I'm still looking at a 3rd operation in the Spring to remove all the screws.

I'm trying to keep a positive attitude through all of this and be optimistic about the outcome of the surgery. I'll probably be back online with surgery results at the end of next week.
post #2 of 31
Noodler, good luck!!

May I ask how old you are?? I ask because if I was 25 to 30 years old and had to think my ski days are over......well, I'd be sitting on the couch. The shrink would have some work to do!!

Good luck with that. The best to you.
post #3 of 31
good luck

Im sure if you want to ski again, you will. You knew your season was over after the accident so this isnt so bad. Trying to look on the bright side. I know how much work it is. Ive had to rehab my shoulder after surgery 3 times alreay, each time it gets worse. But now you know whats involved in getting back at it.

Id be kinda scared you look at yyour x-ray films. Sounds like theres a lack of leg in them

hope everything turns out well

marcus
post #4 of 31
Recovering from surgery is really a rollercoaster ride and it looks like your about to begin again. All I can offer is my wish for good luck. You seem to have everything else you need, good doctors and confidence in them but especially, motivation to get well. I know the feeling of working hard at rehab and wondering if it'll ever come around. There are no guarantees only dedication to hard work. The promise is the sweet sensation of gliding with grace on a snow covered mountain. I wish I can join you there.
post #5 of 31
Best of luck Noodler. You're appreciated here and we look forward to seeing you back on the slopes as soon as possible...and I'm thinking direct to parallel without the wedge starts. (sorry, bad pun but the wish remains sincere)
post #6 of 31
Sending lots and lots of luck and positive vibes your way, Big Guy. We'll miss you at the LGC events this year. Take care of yourself and, as they say, keep the faith!
post #7 of 31
Yow!

Total respect for the brave move.
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarCube View Post
We'll miss you at the LGC events this year.
The hell we will....I plan on dragging his A$$ up the hill on 4/6 for lunch.

Noodler..best of luck with the surgery(s). I think it's the right move to have it corrected even though the recovery time gets longer, and better to do it now.

We're all thinking about you....keep us informed.
post #9 of 31
Wow -- that is just something else. I can't begin to imagine what you're going through, but you seem pretty matter of fact about it!

Or maybe you're just trying to prolong the vicodin rx??

Best of luck.
post #10 of 31
Noodler, you know you're in my prayers, my friend. Keep us in the loop (as I know you will), but most of all, let's have those docs get it right this time.

I know you'll be back stronger than ever next year, looking to rip the bumps and poach the pow. Grace and peace!
post #11 of 31
Noodler

Your doing the right thing by trying to get it right now. My mother had a severe break from a car wreck and it was'nt set right. She just lived with it and that was the wrong decision because it caused alot of problems. She had another surgery 10 years after the first break but her body had adapted to the way her leg was set and it did'nt work out well when they fixed it leaving her with problems that cant be fixed at this point. Push them to get it as close to perfect as possible now. I've been busted up alot but nothing quite as bad as your leg. I do know how you feel and it sucks. I hope you get back on the slopes but dont push anything except the doctors to fix your leg.

Keep your head up things will work out.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
So I'm going in for my second surgery on Tuesday to repair the misalignment in the healing of my right leg. It's been 6 weeks since I shattered my lower right leg and things haven't been going very well. Unfortunately the segmented fracture and the swelling made it difficult for my surgeon to get my leg "parts" lined up correctly during the first surgery. I now have a 15 degree inward twist of my lower leg that pretty much will relegate me to a permanent snow plow if I ever try to ski again. So with my dream of some day skiing again I've opted for this second surgery to correct the problem. It took multiple appointments to convince the doctors to fix me (that's a whole other story).
Best of Luck, Noodler. If you need any inspiration, a ski buddy of mine shattered his leg at MRG about 5 years ago. He went through 2 years of multiple surgeries and although he missed 2 seasons, he is now skiing painfree and in alignment. If you have to, resign yourself to write off this year, and get it done right.
post #13 of 31
Damn, it's difficult to read this post since anyone of us could end up in that situation. I don't know what my attitude would be in such a situation, but I hope it would be half as positive as yours. That alone is a major step towards recovery. Good luck !!!
post #14 of 31
I'm sending some well wishes to you on this. I think you're doing the right thing despite the temporary setback. Hoping for a strong fast recovery for you!
post #15 of 31
Just saw your note -- hope it went well today. I think you made the right decision pushing for the corrective surgery.
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
So I'm back home now from the hospital. So far the leg is feeling pretty good this time - I was worried I'd be totally back to day 1 on my recovery, but luckily I'm not having the kind of pain I did before (at least so far).

The surgery took over 3 hours this time (first one was 1.5 hours). The docs said they spent over 45 minutes just checking and double-checking the alignment before they reset the screws through the rod. Luckily they didn't have to put in a new rod so my knee wasn't reopened. Unfortunately they did have to "break" my leg again though and remove the healed portions of bone so that my lower part of the leg would rotate around the rod. This required a fairly large incision right down the front of my shin and over towards my ankle. They also had to make a bunch of holes around my ankle and lower leg for the clamps to hold onto my leg as they rotated it. They were worried about me ending up with a non-union through this process so they also put in a bone graft (they called it DBM I think) to help promote new bone growth. I haven't actually seen any of this handy work yet though since I'm still all bandaged up (and will be for 2 weeks).

They also removed the screw in my ankle since it was causing me so much trouble and installed a new one. I had ankle pain every day of the past 6 weeks, but I'm am surprised that my ankle pain is now very minimal. I haven't seen any new x-rays yet so I don't know what things look like now. Hopefully I'll get a new set in 2 weeks when they remove my bandages and staples.

At this point it's hard to definitively say whether or not I'm "fixed". I'll have a better feel for things in a few weeks after the bandages are removed, but at this point it looks pretty good. If anything they might have "over corrected" a bit, but like I said - I won't really know for sure for a few more weeks.

So it looks like I've added about 3-4 more weeks onto my recovery time. I'm just glad this part is over and I hope I'm moving on to my final recovery now.
post #17 of 31
May the Force be with you! Hope to see back on the Hill soon!
post #18 of 31
How awful, you poor bugger. Hospitals are awful, surgery is awful. Bear up, things must get better, and fingers crossed that this time, they make everything right. I imagine you're terrified right now, and I reallly feel for you.
post #19 of 31
God bless you. Every last one of us is pulling for you.
post #20 of 31
Noodler..........you're inspiring!

You made the right decision, and this down time will pass. I think you're motivated to make it work, and that's half the battle. Most people just resign themselves to a different life without the sport that dern near killed 'em, but you'll persevere and go on.

Speedy recovery to you, and Kick Some Ass, Man!!!!
post #21 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bonni - I was happy to hear that your breaks were fairly clean and that it looks like the doctor was able to put you back together without much trouble.

We should try to get all the Bears that have had injuries over the past couple seasons to gather somewhere next season (maybe Colorado). We can exchange our war stories in person.
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 

The preliminary results of my second surgery

So today was the big "unveiling" and things went fairly well. When they cut off my bandages I was kind of disappointed to see that there were about 25 staples holding many incisions together. My wife and I counted my incisions and we came up with about 9. The largest incisions are about 5” in length down my knee (from the 1st operation) and another one down the lower part of the front of my shin (from the 2nd operation). Unfortunately the removal of the staples really hurt this time around. Many were around very sensitive areas of my ankle and lower shin. The result of the second operation though is that now my foot looks like it is indeed correctly aligned with the rest of my leg. That was a big relief. Skiing again in my future is now a possibility - we'll see how the rest of the recuperation goes.

They took new x-rays which showed me how they changed the position of the ankle screw and that the healing of my ankle fracture is just about complete. My ankle definitely feels much better now and the swelling is down, but all the tiny incisions across the ankle area make movement painful. I was also disappointed to learn that the healing of my tibia/fibula is basically now at the 2 week mark – just as if my accident had only occurred 2 weeks ago. They had to completely re-break my leg to fix the alignment. So basically there’s not much healing at all in that area, but they are stabilized by the titanium rod. My leg looks kind of deformed right now so it's hard to say what kind of boot fitting issues I'll have when everything is back to normal (at least as normal as it can be after the accident). My shin is much thicker and it's not straight at all (I'll post the new x-rays soon).

So now I’m back in an immobilizer boot. This new one is much better than the first one. It provides much better support – it has air bladders that you can pump up to provide a more precise fit. I spent much of this evening stretching the muscles in my leg so that I could get it back in the boot – my Achilles was really tight from 2 weeks with my foot mostly pointed down.

So the orders for this week are to begin trying to resume more normal activities. I don’t have to keep my leg elevated, but I need to keep the swelling under control. I think the new boot will help with that. In the next couple weeks they want me to wean myself away from needing the boot – letting my pain levels dictate how far I can take it. I’ll still need crutches as this process continues, but I need to progressively put more weight on my leg. The expectation is that I will be walking again in about 6 weeks.
post #23 of 31
Noodler, this is very encouraging. Keep healing, and most of all, keep it straight!
post #24 of 31
Sounds good, although it also sounds like it really hurts. Hang in there!
post #25 of 31
Noodler! That is great news!!

I remember when they unwrapped my leg for the first time... I had not seen it since I put my long johns on the day I got hurt.
The Dr and PA were ooohing and aaaaahing about how good it looked!

I had to ask them whose leg they were looking at, because to my eyes, my leg looked like a reject from Frankenstein's laboratory!

Just spoke with my Dr and PA yesterday. We are making arrangements to remove all the hardware in March. I'm sure you will look forward to the day that happens for you, as much as I am looking forward to it myself!

Continued speedy rehab!!!
post #26 of 31
Staples, yuck. Years ago I had my shins operated on, and the surgeon decided to do internal stitches so I couldn't look like a bad version of frankenstein. So he sewed around bits of wire, which protruded from either end of the shin-long scars. A few weeks later, it was time to get the wire out. Oh. My. God.
post #27 of 31
Noodler, I'm glad they were able to realign everything. Brave thing to do. I look forward to your first TR after getting back on skis.

After my husband's shattered leg and ankle healed, he found that getting foamed ski boots was the best route for him. His leg, ankle and foot are really funky, and other boots were just too painful, no matter how much work he had done on them. So, that's something to think about.

Also, several years after his injury, my husband started having hip and lower back problems. It turned out it was because his broken leg is now a bit shorter than his other one. I bring this up because you mentioned they had to remove more bone from your leg. My husband went to a chiropractor, who gradually increased heel lifts until he was aligned again. He wears the lifts in his ski boots and his everyday shoes. It has made all the difference.

Hang in there! You'll get through this!

Thatsagirl
post #28 of 31
There will be tweaking and fine tuning, for sure.

One thing is certain: injuries aren't for wimps, and it's ok to cry. I don't cry from the pain. That's what obscenities and yelling are for.

I cry from the frustration of not being able to do for myself.

I think it's amazing that you're going to be walking soon. Yippee!! That will open up a whole world of smiles, my friend. Hang tough, the worst is over.

As for a Gimpfest....if I can at all pay for all this and travel, yer on!
post #29 of 31
Heal well Noodler, Sounds like a much more painful recovery than mine.

Here's wishing you complete nights of sleep. I think my first night of good restful sleep came around 4 months...
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
... Unfortunately the segmented fracture and the swelling made it difficult for my surgeon to get my leg "parts" lined up correctly during the first surgery...

However, they said ...they may have to re-break my leg by removing some of the healing bone in order to be able to rotate my lower leg around the titanium rod - sounds like fun doesn't it?

So I'll have 2 doctors this time (one a renowned Denver specialist) for the operation and they said it may take double the time compared to the first operation...I'm trying to keep a positive attitude through all of this and be optimistic about the outcome of the surgery. I'll probably be back online with surgery results at the end of next week.
Stay positive. The re-break is nothing since likely you will be under a general. I had basically the same happen but with my arm. The second surgery required a rebreak but they were able to get everything back as it was originally designed.

Best wishes.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Injury, and Recovery › 2nd surgery (to repair problems from the 1st)