A tale from Texas, USA
As related via e-mail to me by
Michael Phillips

Part One

Dear Slim,

My name is Michael R. Phillips I live in San Antonio, Texas. I am 37 years old and have lived here all my life. I am a Sheriff's Deputy at current time.
At age 5 I fell down some steps at school and bruised my lower right tibia. I had a strep throat at that time and the strep infection settled into my bruised bone. Within a few days my leg turned bright red. We went to see a bone specialist and I was told I had osteomylitis. We fought the infection with antibiotics until age nine.
At that time the Dr. went in and scraped the bad infected bone out and put in bone graft to fill the hole. That surgery lasted 11 years.
At age 20 while working for an electrical contractor I noticed my leg hurting after walking on it all day. I went to the bone specialist and he confirmed that the infection was back. Wow, after all this time and my playing some sports while in my school days.
The Dr. once again went in and scraped the bad bone away. Over the next three years I under went a total of six surgeries averaging one every six months. Finally after the sixth surgery and several months of letting the open wound grow shut the infection was gone.
Well it has been 15 years or so now and guess what? It's back. My bone specialist retired this past year so I am now seeing a new bone specialist. This younger bone specialist has a different method that he is going to use on me this time.
This specialist wants to completely remove that 3"-4" section of leg bone that is infected and re-grow it. He introduced me to the "FRAME".
Needless to say I was white as a ghost when he told me what he wanted to do to my leg. He want's to remove that bad bone section and also make two or three cuts in the upper part of the bone to fill with grafts and push them down to fill in the bigger gap where the large section was removed.
I have delayed any surgery now for about 2 months, out of I guess what is fear, of all this drastic/radical idea. The infection of course is not going away. I went and saw him again on Monday and am now scheduled to have surgery on Monday the 8th of this month.
If the infection is as bad as he thinks it is, I will more than likely wake up wearing the frame with at least five rings.
Note: Due to the close proximity to the ankle this will be a hard surgery for him to perform without messing up my ankle.

After looking up the "lizarov fixture" on the web I found your site. My wife and I would like to thank you for putting up such a great page, which I'm sure will become home for me over the next few months. Any advise, from a pro, would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks again,

Michael R. Phillips

Part Two

Hey Slim,

On Monday the 8th of November the ilizarov fixator was installed on my leg. It was a three and a half hour procedure under general anesthesia.
Depending on what the Dr. would find once inside the infected area determined what he would do with my right leg. After getting inside the leg, the Dr. found that he could remove all of the 3"-4" "infected area" of tibia bone and still leave the far side of the bone wall intact.
Doing this allowed him to keep the proper bone length and spacing on the infected leg. This also meant that I would not have to do any bone stretching. The ilizarov fixator was installed to keep the thin bone wall from breaking while we treat the area with antibiotic beads for the next three weeks. I will then have to undergo a second surgery.
In this surgery the Dr. will remove a mid section of the fibula bone from the same leg and relocate it to the gap in the tibia, that was left from the first surgery.
He will then have a plastic surgeon perform a skin graft, taking skin from my back, to close the wounds on my leg. This will be necessary due to all the tissue scaring from the previous seven surgeries on my leg in the past.

As for the ilizarov fixator I now know what it feels like to wear one. I have a total of five pins and three wires in my leg at various locations.
I was released from the hospital on Wednesday the 10th of November and I got to find out just how bumpy a ride in a car felt. It was not easy getting into the car much less finding a position that was comfortable for the ride home.
I eventually ended up in the back seat propped up against the left rear door and my "good" left leg on the floor board and my right leg with fixator on the seat stretched out. It was such an uncomfortable ride that I was complaining quite loudly.
I was sure at some point my wife was going to pull over and tell me to get out and drive myself. We eventually made it home and I was so happy that ride was over.
It felt good to be home.

I'll keep you informed as things progress here on this end.

See Ya,

Michael R. Phillips
P.S. You are right N5SDF is a HAM call sign. Got my ticket back in 1990 and am semi active on 2m and 10m. Still working on code to get my speed up to General class or better.

[There you go, all you radio Hams out there, keep an ear open for Michael on 10 or 2 metres. I reckon that the Ilizarov frame would probably load up a treat on 2 metres, though it wouldn't do the leg too much good!! Slim]

Part Three


Here are the pictures of my lovely leg!

To be honest they are not pretty!

View at your own discretion..............

Here is the picture prior to surgery.....

Michael's leg prior to Ilizarov surgery
Very ugly leg, no?
I think it looks really good - SLIM

The next shots are after the surgery

Michael's frame, front view Michael's frame, view down the leg
Michael's frame, view of foot plate Michael's frame, another view down the leg
Michael's frame, side view down the leg

Well like I said they are not pretty! Thought you'd like to see what a mess I'm in!

I will have to go for surgery in three weeks to relocate the fibula leg bone to replace the bone that was removed from the area seen in above picture that has the stitches showing in it.

Not looking forward to it at all. Already in enough pain as it is.

See ya,

Michael Phillips

Thanks to Michael for all this info and pictures, I will update the site as Michael's story goes on and the e-mails come in.
Good Luck Michael


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