Sunday, June 16, 2013

Countdown To Surgery

Yes the clock continues to tick, and I am counting down the last 16 hours until my surgery.

Oops, wrong surgery.

Oops again, just a bit of wishful thinking here.

This is more like it:

Seriously, I want to thank all of you who have sent prayers, kind thoughts, and well wishes my way over the last year and a half while I have whined about struggled and suffered with the condition of my heels.  It has been a long road to finally approach the 9:00 AM surgery tomorrow morning, and I appreciate all your support getting me to this point.

So many of you have asked me what exactly is the surgery I will be having, so I suppose it's time to give a few non-gory  details, the best I can.

Here is what I will be having done on my right heel.  It is likely that I will need the same operation on my left foot well after the right one has healed.

1.  The heel will be opened using a vertical incision.  The achilles tendon will be detached from the heel bone and debrided.  That means any scar tissue or damaged parts will be removed, and vertical slits will be made in the remaining good achilles tendon fibers to stimulate bleeding then healing.  If less than 50% of healthy achilles tendon remains, then #3 will also be done.

2.  A section of the heel bone (the calcaneus in the diagram above) that protrudes out the back too far (and which is causing my achilles tendon to tear and fray) will be removed.  Holes will be drilled and anchors inserted into the remaining heel bone, and then the achilles tendon will be reattached to the heel by sewing its end onto those anchors.  This part of the surgery is called a Haglund's resection.

3.  (Possible)  The surgeon may have to harvest the tendon that goes to the big toe, draw it back through the foot, and twine it together with the remaining good achilles tendon fibers to give them enough strength.  This is called a Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL) tendon transfer.  

There are several other questions that I have been asked frequently.  Here are a few:

How long does the surgery take?
     If only parts #1 and #2 are done,  about 1 1/2 hours.
     If part #3 must be done,  anywhere from 3 to 4 hours.

Is this done under general anesthesia?

How long is the hospital stay expected to be?
     Unbelievably, they plan to send me home the same day.

How long is the recovery?  
     Anywhere from 4 (highly unlikely) to 18 months for complete return to prior activity.  Every individual case is different.

How much pain should be expected?
     I understand from reading others' accounts, that this surgery has a high amount of pain, bite-on-a-stick type of pain.  However, they will be prescribing medication to help with that, and I do not plan on being a hero.

Well folks, that's about as much as I know and understand, and probably way more than you needed to know.  I will blog again after the surgery as I am able, or coherent enough to make any sense.

It's almost time.

My bags are packed, and I'm ready to roll.  (On my knee scooter, of course.)


  1. Wishing you a complete and speedy recovery.

  2. Wishing you the best tomorrow, Prayers to you as always..Kerry

  3. You will be in our prayers until the day you say you are pain free! God bless.

  4. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. My husband had four procedures completed on his shoulder this spring, (both scope and incision based), and they sent him home the same day. You don't get to stay for much of anything anymore!

  5. Glad you're not having the surgery pictured in the first photo. That's just a little extreme, but I did wonder if it would help with migraines! Good luck with your surgery. You will be in my prayers for a speedy recovery and hopefully not a lot of pain. Keep us posted when you can. Posts made under the influence of drugs might be entertaining as well (just kidding!!!).

  6. ouch -am lagging in my reading and had to back up to see whats going on with you...good luck for a speedy recovery