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Author Topic: My summer at Ladisten Clinic  (Read 11628 times)
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NewGuy
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« on: August 09, 2009, 09:18:20 PM »

Hi everyone!

I'm 20 yrs old, male, and less than 3 months ago, I had bow legs. In exactly a week from now, I'll finally have my fixators removed! My excitement has led me to start this thread to share my bow leg correction experience with others seeking the same treatment.

My treatment took place at Ladisten Clinic in Kiev, Ukraine. Dr. Veklich (a guy who is Very serious when it comes to his job) performed the surgery and subsequent adjustments. A word about the clinic itself here: I spoke with many of the patients in the clinic during my stay and the majority of them said they were initially extremely skeptical about going there for treatment. These comments made me wonder if I was a little too eager to go since no such thoughts had crossed my mind. In any case, I would like to assure anyone considering Ladisten Clinic that there's nothing shady about the place Smiley


And now, a brief account of what I experienced over the weeks:

Week 1 (starting in mid-late May): Operation & Recovery
The day after I arrived, the staff took blood and urine samples and I filled out some basic past medical history sheets. The following morning, I fasted and the operation took place. After the initial anesthesia injected in my arm, I don't remember much (not even sure if the epidural shot hurt). About 40 min. later, I woke up shivering like crazy. After a little nap under some warm, heavy blankets, I woke up unable to move/feel any part of my body below my belly button. This numbness lasted for the rest of the day.
     For the first week, I couldn't really do anything on my own as I couldn't move. My legs each had an external fixator consisting of 2 rods and 2 semicircular rings joined to my tibias by 3 metal pins.  My legs were constantly in pain but the pain was never unbearable.  I only took about 2 painkiller pills the whole week.  To urinate, I used a jar by the side of my bed.  To use the toilet, I had my dad (who stayed with me the first week) help me move onto a wheel chair with a hole in the seat.

Week 2: Adjustment
My dad left after 8 days after my surgery.  It was only the day before he left that I was able to get move myself into the wheelchair.  This was challenging not so much because my bones caused me pain, but because my skin around the pin-holes would stretch and hurt a lot every time I bent my legs.
     Dr. Veklich came once in the morning and once at night to adjust my fixators.  With two small wrenches, he adjusted my fixators like a mechanic—1mm every time (2mm/day).  As the week progressed, my legs began to hurt more again (after the initial week of recovery) but the adjustment to my legs became more and more obvious.  In exactly 7 days, the doctor declared my adjustment was over!

Week 3: Sitting Around
Not much happened.  I sat in my reclining bed every day, recovering from the adjustments.  The pain slowly went away.  by the end of the week, I was about to move my legs with minimal pain (but my skin still hurt a lot if I moved too fast).




whew that was a lot in one go.  I'll come back and finish the rest later Smiley
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NewGuy
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 05:19:10 PM »

Week 4:  First Steps
About 9 days after adjustment ended, the nurses helped me stand for the first time using a walker.  It was a really weird feeling, like my legs weren't even my own.  Since all my leg muscles seemed to have atrophied after being bed ridden for so long, I had no way of balancing myself without the use of a walker.  It was also pretty painful.  The next day, the clinic's physical therapist, Yuri (unsure of spelling), came to facilitate my recovery by helping me take baby steps (with the walker or his arm, of course), showing me a bunch of stretches/exercises, and giving me leg & back massages.  PT was pretty difficult, especially in the beginning.  My legs were initially very stiff and my flexibility was very limited.  For the remainder of my time at Ladisten, Yuri came to work with me for 1.5 to 2 hours every weekday.  Some of those sessions were very tough!

Week 5:  Crutches
Several days after using the walker and wheelchair (different from the one I used for the toilet), Yuri helped me start walking with crutches.  While they weren't especially harder to use than the walker, they did make turning a bit more difficult.  Once I was confident using crutches, I went outside in front of the clinic every morning for 10-20min to practice walking with them and to get some fresh air.  In the afternoon, when Yuri arrived, we'd go outside to walk again for about 20min.  Between the walking and Yuri's exercises (which included push-ups, sit-ups, and chin-ups), I was really beat by the end of every day.
     During this week, the doctor also took me back into the OR for an X-ray.  He had done all the adjustments relying on eye measurements and experience alone but said he needed to make sure everything was aligned under the X-ray.  Under his real-time X-ray, I saw there was a clear "wedge" of missing bone in my tibias.  He made a few tweaks to shrink the gap slightly so as to expedite bone regeneration.  The process was painless.

Week 6:  Swapping fixators!
Around the middle of my 6th week after the operation, the doctor switched my large fixators (2 semicircular rings in front of the leg and 2 parallel rods joining them on the sides of my legs) to the smaller ones (1 quarter-ring between the pins near my knee joined to the pin at my shin by 2 rods in a V shape).  He said the swap would be painless but the first leg he worked on (my left leg) hurt like hell as soon as he removed the rings.  I figured my leg was just being supported by a half broken tibia so I flexed whatever muscles I had left in my leg for the whole 8min it took to do the swapping.  I was dreading the same pain in my right leg during the swap so I braced myself and flexed.  Surprisingly, it didn't hurt.  I guess it healed slightly more quickly than my left leg did.
     The swap left my legs with a little bit of pain for the rest of the day.  But, as I lay in bed, I was able to touch my knees together for the first time ever!  It was such a great and unique feeling that I didn't mind sitting in bed for the remainder of the day.  The next morning, I was fine.  Walking with crutches was easier than before since the new fixators weighed only about 150g each as opposed to 500g.

Week 7:  Homeward bound
It was my last week at Ladisten and I had improved enough to hobble around on my own without the assistance of crutches.  I say hobble because it definitely wasn't pretty.  Before I left, the doctor performed another small tweak on my small fixators because I still had a small gap between my knees when I locked my legs out.  The nurses also gave me some antiseptic spray and antibiotic powder to use when I cleaned the pads around my pin-holes at home.  They also let me take a pair of crutches with me.
     After Victoria, the clinic's manager, drove me to the airport, I waited until I was picked up by a wheelchair assistant.  He took care of everything and cut all the lines (which were more like enormous mobs) for me.  I boarded the plane about 15min before the other passengers arrived.  My transit at Amsterdam was even smoother.  A lady in an electric car picked me up right off the bridge and drove me almost a mile to my gate.  If my parent's hadn't arranged for these services, I think I would've died.

Weeks 8 & 9:  Home
It was great to be home!  I used crutches to get around for a few days before ditching them entirely.  Every morning, I had to change my own pads (the ones around the pin-holes) and clean the puncture sites like the nurses did at the clinic.  This wasn't as easy as it looked and even when I got used to it, the whole process still took at least 15min.
     Beginning the 9th week, my parents took me to the park almost every night to walk.  I wore long, gym pants.  At first, I walked extremely slowly so as not to break into a hobble.  But by the end of the 9th week, I was able to walk like a normal person.  Going up stairs was easy but going down was still hard at this point because the motion made my shin-pin hurt.  Thus, I had to descend them either sideways, in a reverse climbing motion, or on my butt.
     Walking regularly led my ankles and feet to swell until it was pretty obvious.  Sleeping with my legs elevated on a pillow for several consecutive days solved the problem.

Weeks 10 & 11:  Progress
I continued my walking routine as I had done in my 9th week and progress was gradual and evident.  The only pain I still had was the pain in my tendons behind my right knee, especially when I woke up in the morning.  I contacted Ladisten and was told this pain was normal because my muscles were adjusting into their new places.  The pain would be entirely relieved only after some time post-fixator removal.  Even so, some of the pain did lessen.  At this point, I could walk up to 30min without feeling pain in my legs.  I also began descending stairs like a normal person would with little discomfort.

Week 12:  Present
I can do almost everything I was able to do before except run, jump, and crouch all the way down.  My bones have grown strong enough for me to balance myself on the balls of one foot.  With less than a week before I get these fixators off for good, the anticipation is killing me.  All I can do now is wait Smiley

just 6 more days to go...!
 
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NewMe
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 06:15:06 PM »

Hi NewGuy,

Thanks for sharing your experience. Good to know you are almost done and will be fixators free in a few days. Since I had my legs corrected at Ladisten also shortly after yours, I will share my experience for the female crowd considering the operation when I am permitted to post.

BTW, Yura said you were a lazy boy that sat around for the first few weeks Grin. But once you got going with the physical therapy, you progressed quickly. So he tried to progress fast with me as I was more active. Little did he know that I have very weak arms in general and many times would seek help open a Snapple bottle! Barely 4 weeks post op and just started walking with the walker, the push up attempt almost killed my legs, especially my left one. I only tried it one more time to make him happy a few days before I left for home. Well, I can walk up and down the stairs in my home now with minimal discomfort using the staircase railing and 1 crutch, albeit very slowly. Maybe he was right in pushing me...

Later

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NewGuy
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 10:32:49 PM »

Just got back last night from Kiev!  My fixators were removed sunday afternoon, just 3 hours after I arrived there!  I am so happy with the operation and results!  It has been almost three months since my operation.  Doctor Veklich showed me X-rays of my legs right before the removal and said there was 100% bone regeneration in the cut area!  (I may post some pics of this later).

The wounds themselves didn't stop bleeding for almost a day but the penetration holes themselves are smaller than I thought they would be (about 4mm diameter).  However, there is a lot of swelling around the holes by the sides of my knees--I think those areas are going to eventually harden and scab off.  I can't take a shower without taping over the holes for another two weeks.  But at least the they don't hurt at all and have stopped bleeding. 

With the fixators removed, the pain in my tendons behind my knees was dramatically lessened almost immediately.  My calf muscles are supposed to need another 6 months to to shift into their new places, though.

It's so nice to put on long pants now and not have metal rods poking at them from the inside!  In the next few weeks, I'll be shopping for new pants and shoes  Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 10:39:12 PM »

Great!

Could we see some pictures perhaps? Especially of the pin-sites if possible - it would be very useful.

Thanks, MMT
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NewGuy
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 11:06:36 PM »

Is there a way to post pictures without using an image hosting site?  I don't have an account in any of those sites...
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2009, 11:08:56 PM »

Email them to me and I'll upload them.

Cheers,

MMT
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NewGuy
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2009, 10:05:40 PM »

ok here are pictures of my x-rays:

2.5 weeks post op


7.5 weeks post op



This is the pin hole in my left leg, just below the knee, about 2 hours after removal



hope this is helpful for those wondering what happens to your bones during this procedure
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 12:06:28 AM »

Great pictures - thanks for sharing!
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NewMe
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2009, 07:06:14 PM »

ok here are pictures of my x-rays:

This is the pin hole in my left leg, just below the knee, about 2 hours after removal



hope this is helpful for those wondering what happens to your bones during this procedure
Hi NewGuy,
Hope you enjoy your metal free legs and the new pants and shoes Cheesy
Can you share how your legs/pin holes feel now and if you can soak your legs in water? Actually, the top inner pin hole (as you showed in the pic) are doing the best on my legs as there isn't much muscle tissue around them. The other 4 might end up with larger scars due to infection or scaring around the pin holes already.
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NewGuy
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2009, 08:16:12 PM »

Hello!
I waited 16 days before I decided to take a shower without covering the holes.  The scabs have all fallen off now and the scars are slowly lightening.  The scars feel hard but do not hurt to the touch.  The holes near the sides of my knees have left the largest scars.
I can now kneel (if I do it carefully) and almost squat all the way down.  It will be another month and a half before I attempt running/jumping.

hope everything is going well for you!
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