Friday, January 27, 2012

A Degree in Medicine Leads to Great Advice....

Well, it’s not showing any sign of healing so obviously the ultrasonic bone stimulator isn’t working” These words were spoken by my orthopedic surgeon for this my 8th visit and after 28 weeks of “healing”

Evidently, as she explained it, the clavicle is a notoriously slow healer due to low blood flow in the area and as many as 15% of fractures end up as a non-union after 6 months. So, I’m in good company and completely normal (my wife may disagree with that)

My next question was, obviously “well, what now?” At which point she suggested we talk to the head orthopedic surgery guy and she went to get him. After talking to him, showing that I had full range of motion, wasn’t having any pain (which surprised him) and felt good, he basically said, it’s up to you… We can do surgery, which entails putting in a titanium plate and a bunch of screws. (I asked if it came in carbon fiber but he obviously isn’t a cyclist cuz he didn’t even crack a smile) or we can leave it be.

Now, since I’m kind of a bottom line guy and since he wasn’t really offering any suggestions, I really wanted to discuss both options with the hope of coming to a decision. Sort of like the upside/downside lists I tend to make when confronted with big decisions.

Me – so, lets explore both of these options - surgery?
Head Ortho Surgery Guy - Surgery would involve about 6-8 weeks off the bike while it healed and would result in the bones lining back up and being reinforced.
Me – What happens if I crash after surgery (I mean, it’s bound to happen right?)
Head Ortho Surgery Guy – Well, with the plate in there the break is reinforced but the bones on either side will most likely fracture
Me – Ok, what if I don’t do surgery?
Head Ortho Surgery Guy – if we leave it alone, you go on your merry way, there’s no downtime, but the bones would be out of line and not reinforced
Me – What happens if I crash?
Head Ortho Surgery Guy - Without the plate, the break isn’t reinforced and the bones on either side of the break will most likely fracture
Me – So, as I understand it, either way, another bad crash and something there will break, but if I have surgery I have to stay off the bike for 6-8 weeks?
Head Ortho Surgery Guy – yep
Me – what do you suggest?
Head Ortho Surgery Guy – I suggest you try not to crash....

And there you have it…’s simple really…..Just try not to crash….

The decision seems pretty simple. I'm not in pain, I can ride my bike and whether or not I have surgery, I should avoid crashing(which I do anyway), I'm skipping the surgery and riding my bike. Why would I want to go under the knife if the end result is going to be the same and all it will do is take me off the bike for 8 weeks?

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