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Anyone in the ankle fusion community ever have to go back in after surgery to have screws removed?

By December 14, 2009 - 9:12am
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2nd surgery and now screws 60 days post-op are bothering me! I was wondering how long the re-cope time is for this then?

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EmpowHER Guest

RUINED MY LIFE! To the point I am either living in the car OR student housing with kids less than half my age.
It took 4-5 tries to get disability benefits! The issue was that "junior" was fresh out of school (I was 42 at the time) and he BEGGED to allow him to do the fusion. First, a rod up thru the ankle, which FELL OUT on the nursing home floor and the nurse fainted when she saw it. He claimed he did not wait long enough for the bone marrow to set before doing it, another (older) doctor said the statement made no sense! Says a LOT about healthcare workers, huh? Then, numbnuts (Timothy Uglem in Fargo, ND) fuses the ankle with 3-4 bolts, one of which DID poke it's head thru the skin and produced a hex-shaped bump. That required a day-out procedure with a local needle and out it came. The metal of the bolts did not agree with my genetics and a wound vacuum was installed thru a hole in my ankle for ~1 month along with antibiotics until my body accepted the crap he stuck in there. You should see the back of my foot now, JESUS!

Next, I got the
HELL outta there as soon as the snow started flying in October and went PDQ to Austin, TX. As it happened, (I think anyway, other doctors said ankle was NEVER fused) when I stepped off a curb the wrong way in Austin, TWO of the THREE bolts snapped in half inside the calcareous bone, the remaining one is hogging out an oval in the bone because it rocks back-forth and is the only one supporting my 250 pound OBESE frame (up from 155 btw). I had NO pain before any if this SH|T was attempted, I later found out Uglem experimented on several others in Fargo and Fergus Falls and they ALL had lawsuits pending, I didn't bother because the odds are against winning anything AND with disability benefits, that lump sum would cause more problems with the IRS and such.

My family abandoned me when all this happened, I wanted them to take me to MAYO CLINIC, one guy there has done 156 of them and is in his 50's. I was doped up on morphine at the time and talked into it by "junior". Hey, if a young girl can't please a 55 yr. old man in bed, it makes sense a young boy (with a scalpel) can't please a man in bed either! Go for 45 or older and GET REFERENCES any way you can! because The OTHER thing this has lead to is an absence of a social life and regular use of female escorts. a

I made it to hell and am just fine...

August 15, 2016 - 10:52am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi All, I am having a second surgery to remove the screws in my ankle fusion , as they are causing me a lot of pain. I also have fibromyalgia amongst other things, so the screws pushing on nerves is extremely painful.
Does anyone know if you go back into plaster after this procedure and how long it takes until I can weight bear normally?
thanks Katie

November 17, 2015 - 9:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

hi my name is Brian Hatfield i live in Scotland UK
I have just seen this site i broke my heel about two years ago and i have just had a op to hav my heel fused about three weeks ago.
After the op i never had one bit of pain for about a week and was getting worried about it as the doc had told me that i would have severe pain in my foot after the op after the op they put me on a walking cast straight away and crutches. I got a new cast on about ten days ago since then i have had pain and now is quite severe pain at the bottom of my heel and it feels as if a screw is coming out of my skin and i can not put any pressure on it in any way. Question - Can these screws make there way out of your skin I have done some research on the op and it says that you should not put any pressure at all on your heel for four weeks is this true i asked the doc about this and he said people work different ways i live in Scotland and i do not know if this op is the same as every where else i am getting worried about this but my doc says there is nothing to worry about

October 11, 2012 - 7:18am
EmpowHER Guest

I had ankle fusion in June of 2011. One year later still walking with a limp and in pain in other areas of the foot. I wish I had never done the surgery . Been back to the Dr. Said the fusion is great does not know why in pain again. Gave me the name of a foot dr to see since he only specializes in bones. So unhappy with the outcome going to be 50 this year feel like I am turning 80. Can't execrsise , walk, go up and down stairs without pain. I would recommend more research before having this surgery.

June 1, 2012 - 7:13pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

To the 50yr old anonymous 2011 opp, I'm 47 Jan 2013 I had ankle fusion, have been in excruciating pain ever since, foot looks deformed since opp, have lot of bone growth, some days foot swells cant get shoes on, since operation I've never felt so depressed, suicidal, as i was getting no where with appt after appt, x rays, MRI scans, CCT scan, ultrasound scans, to be told its all In my head, cant sew any problems, & then to be refuted to a psychiatrist, second opinion told me all metal was broke need taken out .

January 9, 2016 - 7:10am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am on my second left ankle fusion. The first one did not take and my doctor kept saying everything was fine there was no problem. He sent me for a cat scan and I had a mal fusion. So for almost a year I was walking and hopping on a broken leg. The pain was worse than before I have the surgery. From what you're describing it sounds like the same thing I went through get a second opinion you might have to have it redone.

October 22, 2015 - 10:02am

Jessica you have really been through it. :( I am a little worried mine may be worse than they think as well but I have finally found a dr who I trust. I had several refuse to see me, either didn't feel they could do anything different or who knows why. I even consulted Mayo Clinic and they refused as well. However, I found a dr who has treated tibial avasucalar necrosis with some decent success.

So here is her plan: take bone from my pelvis to graft because she said the dead bone has to be dealt with before a fusion could work. I will then have an external fixator for 4 months with no weightbearing. She said this is a salvage surgery and she thinks she can "buy" me a few good years before a fusion will have to be done. So we will see, she did address all the issues I had about the fusion being done and the dead bone being left in there to collapse. I know a normal ankle is out of the question but I just want whatever has to be done to be done right. Very nervous about dealing with the external fixator, anyone got any tips for that? :)

February 6, 2012 - 6:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to crutchgirl)

i had an external fixator for a few months and please by all means keep it clean!! I got a staph infection in one of the screws and also after posting a picture of it on facebook found out it was placed on my leg improperly.

December 19, 2015 - 5:47pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to crutchgirl)

I'm glad you were finally able to find a doctor to help you! I also was turned away by several b/c they were unsure about what to do with me. They all told me to go back to the original doctor who performed my first reconstructive surgery a decade ago, but he had moved and opened a new practice two states away. Finally, a bright young doctor who is an expert in ankle surgery agreed to help me.
About the external fixator - I wore one for four months as well after my first surgery (the one referred to above). I was in a horrible head on collision and I broke every single bone in my ankle, many were actually shattered & had a dislocation as well. I was told I faced amputation due to the extent of my injury & loss of blood flow, but my surgeon was able to save it in surgery & I left with an external stabilizer. It took quite a lot of getting used to! I do have a few tips. Find a place to lie down or sit with your leg elevated to prevent the swelling. Try to get it as high as you can. Keep your pin sites very clean. I had to clean them quite often. You don't want any infection to set in. Be very, very, very careful when walking around. You don't want to stumble or fall and put weight on it. Use a wheelchair as much as possible. I had a wheelchair in my kitchen just for fixing food b/c I was afraid I would stumble. I was lucky enough to have someone who was able to stay with me at all times, so I didn't have to walk on crutches too much. Another tip: find a small cushioned stool to have near the toilet so you can prop your leg up. Non-weight bearing means NOTHING, not even resting it on the floor. I found a way to shower with a plastic bag draped over my pin sites and my entire leg outside of the shower on a stool with a towel wrapped around my leg above the knee, and the shower curtain draped over. I had a hand held shower nozzle put in so I could still shower. I had to clean my leg (the part that I could not wash) outside of the shower. It was tough, but I got through it. Good luck with everything and keep us updated!!!
- Jessica

February 6, 2012 - 6:52pm

Hi Jessica,
Sorry to hear that you have been dealing with all this and then have to find out that it's much worse than they had anticipated. What type of ankle fusion did they finally end up doing? How long ago was your surgery? My recovery was over a year, so I can only image how long it's taken you to recover as well. What have been your biggest struggles since the surgery?
Hope to hear from you soon,

February 3, 2012 - 9:06am
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