I am in need of some direction. I am a 49 year old female with Osteopenia.
In May of 2011 I was diagnosed with a substantial stress fracture to my left tibia from running. For the first year, I was on crutches, took daily Forteo injections (through the treatment at Michigan Bone & Mineral Clinic) and used an external bone stimulator for several months to no avail. In May of 2012, a plate and six screws were put in place.
After another two months on crutches, I began very limited physical therapy. There was a period of maybe one week where I began to see true improvement. Then more pain. PT was suspended and a bone scan, CT scan showed that there is still an active fracture that the surgeon feels, quite possibly may be a new fracture above the plate. He recommends removal of all hardware and a comparative MRI after healing from surgery. He suggests that if it were the original fracture, if it hasn’t healed in seven months, it will not heal and because of the thinness of my leg, the hardware causes a great deal of discomfort as well.
One of my concerns is with the removal of the hardware, the holes left in my tibia will further weaken the bone and I would not be able to determine if my body would have an adverse reaction to the bone cement. Of course, that would still leave me with a fracture.
I am in the Michigan area. My surgery was done at William Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Michigan. I was looking for guidance and was hoping for a specialist at the U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor when I came across your website.
I would greatly appreciate any consideration and guidance.
Well, I would agree with your doctor in getting the hardware removed at this stage. The holes created are usually small and expected to heal with time and do not usually create complication being away from the line of stress/ weight bearing. If there seems to be no improvement in the following months, interventional treatment modalities such as biological cell injection/ percutaneous autologous cell therapy etc may be tried. I would suggest discussing the situation and the suggested management plan in detail with your treating orthopedician.
Hope this is helpful.
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