Thursday, December 2, 2010

Heel Cord Lengthening Surgery for Clubfoot

Ruth had her tendon lengthening surgery on Tuesday at Scottish Rite. It is pretty "minor" in the world of spina bifida surgeries, but it was also the first one she has had since her back closure (in utero).

First they came and took off her casts.

Look at those thighs! It's kind funny, she has a major fat roll above where the casts stop on her thighs. It will be nice when her fat can even out a little, lol.

Then the doctor came in and looked at her feet. Her right foot almost didn't need the surgery, but was still a little tight. Her left foot definitely needed it.

So they put a hospital bracelet on her, and initialed both her ankles. I guess that's common practice in orthopedic surgeries, as I had the surgeon's initials on my knee before the surgery as well.

The surgery entails a small incision right above the back of her heel, and they cut the achilles tendon. They use a skin numbing spray, but no general anesthesia. They then cast her feet into correct position, with the hope when the tendon heals, it will be longer, and won't pull her feet back into the club position.

So, then they kicked me and Me-maw out. I'm not sure I'd want to see it, but it was hard leaving my baby girl behind. We waited in the waiting room for about 10-15 minutes and then they came and got us. When we came in she wasn't crying, but her eyes were very puffy. They were finishing up with her casts.

She will have this set of casts on for 3 weeks. She gets them off the week before Christmas and then is DONE WITH CASTS!! She will then go to braces, which looks like shoes with a bar between them. She will wear that full time for 3 months, and after that only at naps and nighttime until she is walking.

She had a LOT of air in her tummy after that experience. I left a bottle in there for her, and apparently between that and crying, she got a lot of air. I did get one big burp out of her before we left, but I guess it wasn't enough. Baby girl had some major gas the rest of the day. So, not sure if her distress was from that or the surgery, but she was a little pitiful the rest of the day.

Some of the blood from the surgery soaked through the casts. I'm glad they told me to expect that, or I would have been freaking out a little.

Looking forward to saying goodbye to those casts in a few weeks!!


  1. I remember when Madi had that done, I was really bummed because I was hoping the casting alone would work and she would not need it. She was able to have it in the office, not hospital, so luckily I got to hold her when it was done, but she still did not like it. THe good news is that her foot/tendon/leg look great now!

  2. I realize that this writing is nearly 6 years old. First I want to say that I am 44 and that I was born with bilateral club feet. My mom told me that the drs started casting by 18 hours old. By 6 months the casting did not work so for the next 14 years I have had to get reconstructive surgeries and more casts and more braces. I remember when I a barely in kindergarten that I would look forward to the UPS delivery truck to get my new shoes and braces. Well long story short, 44 years later I have just had to get another surgery to help with range of motion.

    So my question for you is how is your daughter doing?