Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Flap

As those who have read my blog for a while know, Skip has been bothered by pressure sores on her butt off and on for the last 2 years. The first one, that lasted from the fall of 2009 until May 2010. It was huge and got so deep it exposed bone, which eventually became infected. That whole horrible scene included 5-1/2 weeks in the hospital and rehab primarily to administer IV antibiotics for the bone infection.

So, once that wound healed up we thought she was done with those troubles. Unfortunately, some months later, a small irritation started up on top of the area on her butt where the monster wound had been. This irritation slowly but surely morphed into a real live small wound that has resisted all attempts to get it to heal. Finally, her wound nurse recommended Skip try out the wound center at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston. She thought they might recommend flap surgery.

Well, that's just what they did. Apparently, large pressure sores that heal often leave in their wake a lot of scar tissue. The scar tissue makes the whole area more unstable and prone for sores, making it likely that Skip would continue to have them there pretty much continuously.

The surgery would involve removing this scar tissue and replacing it with donor tissue from Skip's thigh. The procedure doesn't take too long, just a few hours. A typical hospital stay following the surgery is 3-4 days. Then, Skip will be transferred home via ambulance (so she doesn't have to sit up) to spend the next 6 weeks in bed. The long bed rest is necessary for proper healing. Only about half of the flap surgeries performed succeed but those who are compliant with their bed rest have much higher success rates.

Not surprisingly, Skip is very nervous about this surgery. I would too, in her shoes. But we're both confident this is the best approach to help her, ideally, live sore-free going forward.


kmilyun said...

well double dog nuts! Hope it goes well and Skip heals good. so Hiya Skip!! Get the right rest and follow the Docs orders!

Cranky - fingers crossed and take care of yourself too.


Webster said...

Oh Skip and Cranky, if it isn't one thing it's another. This treatment sounds like a reasonable approach. I know that once you start getting pressure sores it seems to be an ongoing thing. So I hope for a good outcome all around for you.

Cranky said...

Jan and Webster - thanks for your good wishes. I'm cautiously optimistic we'll have an excellent outcome.

Josie said...

Sounds like it'll be worth it in the long run. Good luck!!

Cranky said...

VJ - thanks, I agree, short term pain for long term gain.

lightning36 said...

Dang, Cranky -- how do you keep it together with all the stuff you have to deal with? Sounds like you need a vacation!

Best of luck with this option. A special prayer for you from the midwest tonight!

Cranky said...

Lightning - I could use a vacation! Only problem is that I've been unemployed since September 2010. :-) In fact, Skip's hospital stay will be a bit of a vacation for me. I'll visit her in the hospital, but won't be responsible for her care for the 3-4 days she's there.

awb said...

Best of luck to Skip. Seems strange to cut an area that has had a hard time healing already? I suppose that's why I was a deputy sheriff and not a doctor.


Cranky said...

Andy - such a good point!