Monday, May 20, 2013

Drew's surgery

When we received Drew's referral, we were told that he had an issue with his left leg.  We were able to see medical reports and talk to an English speaking doctor who had examined him. 

Shortly after he was born, he developed a staph infection in his left knee.  The infection was treated properly in a hospital, but it left the growth area weak.  As he grew, the ligaments did not keep the lower bones lined up properly so they rotated and caused his leg to be bowed.  The doctors said it would be a simple procedure to correct the leg.  Luckily, the bones were straight though.  In June, after we came home, I took Drew to a local doctor who referred us to Scottish Rite in Dallas. 
Drew was accepted as a patient and his surgery was scheduled for January 8th.  I wanted to avoid the holidays since he would be in a wheelchair after the surgery.  The surgery would involve cutting the 2 lower bones and inserting rods that would hold the leg straight and afterward, he would need to wear a full leg cast from his hip to his toes.  He would not be able to put any weight on it for 6 weeks.

While he never seemed to be in pain nor did he ever complain, the doctors told us that it needed to be fixed before his knee cap hardened into bone or it would be inoperable.  He would have had hip, knee and ankle problems for the rest of his life.

Drew did wonderfully during surgery - there were so many unknowns when the nurses were asking me questions!  The doctor was very pleased with the procedure.  Drew never complained during the next 6 weeks.  He still went to school and since it was winter he didn't miss much outdoor time. 

We had the cast removed on February 19 and hoped that would be the end of it!  But the doctor said it was still a "soft heal" so he put Drew in a short cast and gave us a walking boot so he could start putting weight on it.  He had to wear the short cast for 4 more weeks.  Because there were pins in his leg while he had on the full leg cast, Drew had to be put out when they took off the long cast.  During this time, the doctor injected a dye into his knee to view the cartilege in an XRay.  The dr said that the cartilege looked better than he had hoped and was very pleased.

Finally!  On March 22nd (which is actually the 1 year anniversary of us leaving Hungary) I took Drew to have the short cast removed.  He was so excited!

Drew's leg is much better.  He will probably need another surgery when he's done growing and there's a chance that he might need limb lengthening surgery as well.  The growth area in the knee was damaged and there's nothing that can be done about that and so there are still some unknowns about his lower leg.  However, he has the best doctors available and will have 2 checkups every year.

Based on the creases in the backs of his knees, you can see that his left leg is shorter than the right.  If it's a small enough difference, he might wear shoe inserts or if it's too much, he might need the limb lengthening surgery.  Only time will tell!

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