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Op Complete – Meet Metal Mickey 4

Posted by DarrenG on August 28, 2009


My op last Friday went ahead as planned and 6 days later (yesterday) I was released home. I now sport a rather gruesome looking femoral ilizarov fixator frame worth a cool £6k!

It’s taking some major adjustments of course and it still very early days but I’m doing my very best to remain positive.  I had the Op 9am Friday morning which took 6hrs and arrived on the ward at 4.30pm.  Saturday was spent in bed but Sunday I was walking to the shower using a frame which is amazing progress given the operation.

The frame itself has 4 rings and stretches from high on my hip to my knee.  Mid-way is the adjustment section with 4 long threaded bolts that will be used for the lengthening procedure which begins next Tuesday. This is simple, each adjuster is turned a set number of times every day to achieve 1mm distraction per day. As I have 25mm of bone to grow it should take a month if the bone grows at the expected 1mm/day. We get shown what to do on Tuesday and then it is down to us to do at home each day!

Each pin site (and there are about 20 in total) needs a daily cleaning ritual. I shower and flush the pin sites with clean water then clean each site using a lollipop (a large cotton bud) using saline. The larger pins need dressings applied but the wires tend to stay relatively blood free. I am now able to get about using crutches albeit slowly and painfully so with my wife’s assistance I can get into the shower and in and out of bed. As the strength in my leg increases I should be able to do both independently.

The whole process takes between 6 and 12mths with a lot down to how quickly the bone grows and heals and a lot of that is down to be keeping mobile and weight bearing. Weight bearing on the broken leg is a vital part of the healing process that ensures the bone continues to grow and that it knits when the desired length has been achieved and the consolidation phase begins.

I also have a number of staples where entry was made to break the bone (they use a chisel, I asked!), these will be removed at the GP’s next week. I have even been issued with the removal tool, the financial independence of GP’s meaning they won’t supply them as they didn’t put the stapled in, farcical!

Below are some pictures which I’ll add to but please be warned, they aren’t pretty so for the squeamish or week of constitution, don’t click on them or you’ll get larger versions!

ilizarov-day1-smiling Day1 Day3 Day6


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Leave a response

  1. Jill J Fri, 04 Sep 2009 20:40:37 GMT+0100

    Hi Darren,

    I found you’re blog through the rob prince web site. I am currently wearing a taylor spatial frame on my left femur. I have to say, it’s no fun… But thanks for starting this blog! It’s nice to have someone to go through it with. I guess misery loves company. 🙂

    When I was a child I developed a bone disease that messed up the tracking of my knees (I would frequently dislocate my knee caps.) So That’s why I’m wearing it. By the way, I got mine on in January and will hopefully have it removed some time in October. I am going to have to have the right femur broken in Dec. Really not looking forward to that one!

    Good luck! And hang in there, it will get worse and then better and then worse and then better, etc. It’s quite trying!


    p.s. “Metal Mickey” He He! I call mine Rod-knee! 🙂

  2. DarrenG Fri, 04 Sep 2009 20:45:17 GMT+0100

    Hi Jill,

    Great to find another going through this. TSF is slightly different but same end game! Is your frame as uncomfortable as the ilizarov? Mine goes right up to just below hip level so makes sitting on a chair very awkward as I have to sit with one buttock on and the leg with the ilizarov half off.

    Keep in touch, it’s therapeutic to share the experience with others.

  3. Jill J Sat, 05 Sep 2009 01:38:08 GMT+0100

    Mine is not nearly as large as yours (about mid thigh.) As to whether it is as uncomfortable, I don’t know? But I would guess not. I do have a lot of pin site pain, though. It feels like it’s pulling my skin off at this point. (My skin has grown all the way to my pins.) I will keep in touch! Thanks, Jill

  4. DarrenG Sat, 05 Sep 2009 10:13:05 GMT+0100

    I envy the smaller frame. If mine wasn’t so high up my hip it would be a lot easier to live with. I wasn’t told my knee would be pinned either, that makes it more complicated and means I can’t get into the front seat of a car. Something I’d liked to have known in advance but hey ho 🙂


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