Pothole in my leg?

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I just got back from the orthopedic doctors, and I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that my ligaments are fine and I don't have any major tears. The bad news is that I have that compound fracture at the top of my tibia. The fracture created a sort of "pothole" at the top of my bone. There is a depression that is 5 millimeters deep, which, if not treated, could bring about an early onset of arthritis.

Otherwise my leg is fine. It will heal normally in 12 weeks, with the first 6 of non-loadbearing weight and the next 6 with load-bearing weight. If all goes well I should be ok by late July.

But, they are recommending that I have surgery to correct my pothole condition. 5 millimeters is the "grey-area" of this condition. Anything greater than 5 - they suggest to correct it. Anything less than, say, 3 millimeters, they suggest you can leave it alone.

So I have a decision to make.

Part of me wants to fix it - because I don't want to be 45 or 50 and waking up in arthritic pain every morning.

Part of me simply DOESN'T WANT SURGERY. They indicated that the surgery is fairly simple and I will have 4 small scars around my left knee. Also its possible I will have one or two pins in my tibia for the rest of my life.

Part of me really, really wants to get rip roaring drunk tonight to forget this problem - if for only one night. I haven't had any good wine since last week. Also I haven't really been able to cook for myself in over a week - mostly been having take out.

I'm trying to schedule an appointment with another doctor on Monday to get a second opinion. Unfortunately I am having a slight problem getting a doctor at short notice to look at this (and they also accept my insurance).


If you were to ask for my advice I'd say to forego surgery. Unless you actually need it. Although if they think that you need 2 pins in there that doesn't sound like you would have a choice. If it's bad enough that you need two pins well then there you go. It's a risk to go under anesthesia for something that you could simply get anyway. (Arhritus that is)

I wouldn't worry about the coulds - I mean hell - you can get blood clots from fractures but it doesn't mean you will. But that's just the way I think.

I have been out of town and finally just got caught up on your leg problem. I know you emailed me earlier this week that you hurt your leg I didn't realize how bad ---sorry to hear how bad you got hurt. Tough call on the surgery. However, you are a pretty active person -- so the question is ... will it help you down the road so you can act like 13 again??? If so, get the surgery. Otherwise join the rest of the world and age with grace.

Just get the second opinion first. Surgery's a tough call to make with only ONE doctor's opinion to go with.

In the meantime, find out more, go online, research what options you have. No harm in learning more about it yourself, right?

Good luck!

Hope you're feeling better...as you decide on whether or not to undergo surgery, try to look on the brighter side of things; you are one of the drastically waning number of Americans that still has health coverage. At least you're not having to worry about setting a bankruptcy court hearing to take care of medical costs while you deal with the injury itself. Oh, and if all else fails, duct tape fixes everything...pins shmins! All the best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on May 6, 2005 3:38 PM.

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