Friday, August 22, 2008


Bad news at the orthopaedic surgeon's office this morning. He's going to need to re-open my hand and repair a bit of broken bone that hadn't healed properly. The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.

A month ago at my last check up, he noticed on the x-ray that one corner of the bone at the top of the radius had separated slightly from the rest of the bone. At the time he said he was concerned but wanted to wait and see. When we re-took xrays this morning the problem had not fixed itself and so surgery is now required. When I broke my radius on May 17 there was a long fracturing running the length of the bone and then several fractures at the top of the bone where it meets the wrist. The original surgery placed a T-shaped piece of metal into the arm; the long part of the T (with 4 pins) holding together the long fracture and the top part of the T (with 7 pins) holding all the shattered parts of the bone in place. But one corner of this top part of the bone had slipped out of place, rotating slightly and moving down. Instead of fusing with the bone and healing it's just sitting out there. And meanwhile the wrist bones above it have started to move down into the empty space. Although I'd been able to make quite a bit of progress with strength and mobility the surgeon warned that the wrist was unstable and would cause a lot of problems and pain throughout the rest of my life unless dealt with now.

So on Wednesday he'll open me up again. He'll take out the old plate and put in a new one with a shorter vertical piece (the long part of the bone has healed nicely) but a wider horizontal piece to secure that wayward bone fragment. He's also going to insert some synthetic bone graft material to make up for the bone that's been lost in the four months since the accident. He said he's likely going to have to open the wrist on both sides this time in order to capture the bone that has moved so I'll have a scar on top of the wrist as well as underneath. After surgery I'll start over with a cast for two weeks and then a brace and then physical therapy.

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