A while back Nicole's doctors had been talking about what they were going to do to fix her leg. One of the problems she has is the back of one leg was so severely destroyed with the burn that they had to take quite a bit of muscle and tissue out. Since then she has had many open areas that don't close because of the tightness.
Dr. Agarwal had suggested putting in these small bladders and then filling them up with fluid a little at a time to stretch the skin. After about 6 weeks the skin then would be large enough to stretch around the area in question and then hopefully given the more skin there, the area would then heal. In the mean time one of the burn docs wondered if maybe it was a tendon that was too tight causing the problem. We decided to go with the least invasive surgery and see what happens. We can do the other surgery if this one doesn't work.
So, today is the day. Dr. Cochran will open the area in question, take out some tissue and do a new graph which will come off her hip. While she is doing that she will also have her neck, in the front, where there is a very tight band and do a skin graph there also and hopefully release that area so Nicole can move her head forward and backward better. There are also a few tight bands in the axilla area that will also get skin graphs.
Good news! This was the surgery choice we should have taken. When Dr. Cochran opened up the back of Nicole's leg she found that the old graph had adhered to the other tissue making it so each time she moved her leg to walk or bend it to sit down it would rip the outside skin. Thus causing the area to keep opening and causing ulcerations and open lesions.
We are so glad this option was available before we did the other surgery to put in the bladders. That surgery would have taken 3-6 months before it was finished.
Nicole has wound vacuums on each area. Each area is hooked up to a machine that sucks the air out and puts continual pressure on the area. It promotes better wound healing. I hope these work as well as they say they do. Nicole will be staying in the hospital for about a week. She will then go home with the wound vacs that she will need to keep on for several weeks.