A story from Denmark
Lucia Roncaglia

Lucia Roncaglia sent me an e-mail of her story in July 2000 and has since kindly added some pictures.

Copenhagen, 15.07.2000

Dear Slim,

My name is Lucia, I am Italian and 32 years old. I am wearing an Ilizarov tibial fixator since March 2000, and it was very helpful to me to go through your website when I was thinking if taking or not the step of the surgery.

My orthopaedic story is a very long and complicate one, like the majority of this kind of stories. It started when I was 5 years old and broke my left ankle falling from just 1.2 meter.
Since then lots of things went wrong, and the conclusion was that my leg grow approximately 9 cm less than the other one.
I lived most of my life wearing boots or high shoes where I could put a 8-9 cm inset. This allowed me to walk perfectly and have a perfectly normal life, without anybody noting the problem. I could go trekking (...I am a geologist), I could cycle, do sport; however, in the back of my mind there was the thought of lengthening my leg, one day.

At the beginnig of this year the day came, as I was contacted by a hospital in Denmark, where I live. Here for the first time I learnt about the Ilizarov technique.
I went through two surgeries, in march and may respectively, and have now regrown the 9 cm missing. However the bone is still not hard enough therefore I know that I will have to wear the frame for several months to go.
The first two days after the surgery I had severe pain but it was taken care by painkillers and other effective methods they used in the hospital.
A week later I started to screw (!) on the frame with a speed of 1,5 mm/day. The lengthening period has not been easy but neither too bad.
The pain came a couple of days later and it was similar to a weak, continous cramp which I could actually ignore by day with the help of painkillers, but it was quite nasty by night and sometimes I could not sleep at all.
Later on in the lengthening period the speed was taken down to 0.5 mm/day and the pain decreased remarkably so that I could do without painkillers day and night.

In the last 3 and a half months I have also corrected a number of other defects on my leg. When excluding the lengthening, all other movements did not cause any pain to my leg.
I could feel that I had started screwing in a new direction, but a few hours later everything was quite and I could sleep well at night.

Here is were I got, it is a long project and it will keep me busy for some time. I cannot walk without crouches yet but I hope I will come to it soon.
In a way I wish I was a child because they can cope with this frame much better than the adults; mum takes care of the rest. We should learn from them.

Hope to be able to send you a couple of pictures of my frame to be add to your interesting collection!! You will hear from my again. Best regards,

Lucia Roncaglia

A side shot of Lucia's leg & frame An overhead shot of Lucia's frame

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