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Author Topic: Patella Fracture - ORIF wires moving!  (Read 343 times)

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Offline skomppa

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Patella Fracture - ORIF wires moving!
« on: January 13, 2018, 12:36:06 AM »

I am 4 months post-surgery today and learned earlier this week that my ORIF wires are moving. Up until this time, I have been progressing very well in my PT, and was up to 115 ROM and feeling more and more confidant every day walking. I had a slight set-back at 3 months post-op where I had a slight slip (did not fall), and it felt like my knee jammed. My knee swelled up slightly, but after 2 weeks, I was back on track. Xrays at that time noted the wires were in place.

Scene of the original crime: I slipped and fell at a pizza restaurant and shattered my kneecap into 5 pieces. (Go big or go home, right?)

Current problem: My moving wire started as one of my K wires ("candy canes" or "shepherd's hooks") moving upwards, and I didn't have much if any pain. I thought I was going crazy because I could feel it moving. It felt like something pushing up on my skin and even pushing the material of my pants around. It was subtle, but noticeable. Xrays this week confirmed this and show that the figure eight wire, while in place, was no longer anchored to anything on one of the bases. I was told to continue PT and to come back in 7 weeks for more xrays.

Fast forward to today, and I now know the figure eight wire is no longer in the right place either, and I am starting to be able to feel the other K wire moving as well. It is very painful at times.

My surgeon said he would recommend going back into surgery, taking out the hardware and "testing" the patella for strength during surgery. If it stays together, they sew me up and I take it easy while the bone continues to heal. If it comes apart, they put in all new wires and I go back to square one and start this whole process over again. (Party!!)

To complicate matters, however, I just learned yesterday I am 1 month pregnant. (Sidebar: We were told that I was healing well enough to continue fertility treatments in what has now been a 3 year journey to try and have kids, so this was planned). Well, you cannot have elective surgery while pregnant, especially during the first trimester. So now I feel stuck and am scared to do PT, thinking my wires will keep moving and eventually move so much that they will be even more painful or pop through my skin. (Probably overly dramatic, but you can actually see them through my skin.) I am also scared not to do PT because I will start to lose all the muscle and flexibility I worked so hard to gain. As a super athletic person who has been stuck doing nothing for the last 4 months, I need to move for my mental stability! I'm really worried about both long-term pain from not progressing my recovery, but also possible pain for the next 8 months.

I realize I am in a tough spot (and hope no one else is in the same boat), but if anyone has experience with their ORIF wires moving prematurely, I'd love to hear about your experience. (And how they magically went back where they belong....right? Ha.)


Sept 13 '17 - Patella Fracture (5 pieces) [at a pizza restaurant]
Sept 14 '17 - ORIF surgery
Oct 02 '17 - stitches removed, new brace, still locked straight 99% of the time, started limited PT exercises at home 1x/day
Oct 30 '17 - transitioned to allowing brace to flex while walking and was allowed to start PT, ROM 75
Dec 10 '17 - "jammed" knee while walking, set me back 2 weeks, knee swelled up, ROM at 100 before slip
Dec 11 '17 - xrays looked good, no concern
Jan. 8 '17 - xrays showing one K wire moving up, 115 ROM
Jan. 10 '17 - sensation that other wires are moving