Heather Sanders

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February 2014



Kienböck’s Update: Surgery Complete, Healing in Progress

Written by , Posted in Everything Else, Kids and Parenting, Kienböck’s Disease

Kienböck’s Update: Surgery Complete, Healing in Progress

Last month I wrote that we discovered Emelie’s pain in her wrist was Kienböck’s Disease. At that point, we had yet to see Dr. Rosen, the surgeon who specializes in surgery of the hand and upper extremity.

During our appointment with Dr. Rosen, we learned Emelie had progressed to Stage 3, meaning the dead lunate bone had started to collapse at the base. Dr. Rosen recommended radial shortening, which means he would cut through the radius, remove 2-3mm of the bone, and plate it together. The shortening of the radius relieves the pressure on the lunate and allow for its revascularization, which is another way of saying it may restore blood flow to that bone.

Emelie’s surgery took place yesterday at TOPS Surgical Specialty Hospital in Houston. It lasted just over an hour and we can’t imagine it going any smoother.

Kienböck’s Update: Emelie Prepped for Surgery

Unlike my other two, Emelie has never been in the hospital for any procedures; heck, she’s rarely been to the doctor. So, to say she was a tad nervous is an understatement, though she handled it like a champ. The lab’s blood draws, IV stick and nerve block were all terrifying for her, but once the sedation kicked in and she could not feel her left arm at all–she was HYSTERICAL.

She referred to the oxygen nose ventilator as “refreshing as nose tea.”

She said her hand, which she could in no way, shape, or form, feel–felt “like Skittles”.

She laughed when she looked at me and said I look like “a clown in a carnival mirror”.

She kept laughing at some internal dialogue that must have been taking place in her head.

The anaesthesiologist had some incredibly furry brows, and she mentioned “he had eyebrow game”.

She responded to the nurses questions about allergies by saying, “I’m allergic to cats. I have a cat. That’s okay though because he’s worth it.”

And finally, she asked me to take a whole bunch of photos with her phone so she could post one to Instagram with the hashtag #nofilter. That made her laugh over and over and over.

I’m told she talked–a lot, right until they knocked her out cold.

The girl was legally high, I tell ya.

Kienböck’s Disease: Radial Shortening Needed

As Emelie was waking up from the anesthesia, Dr. Rosen came to update me and Jeff and show us her X-rays.

The first one above shows the 2mm difference between her ulna and radius previous to the surgery. I added the dashed red line to show the difference between the radius and ulna.

Kienböck’s Disease: Radial Shortening was a Success!

The second X-ray showed how beautifully he was able to even them once he cut 2mm from her radius and then plated the two bones together.

Kienböck’s Disease: Radial Shortening with plate and screws.

These are side-by-side shots of two X-rays showing the plate screwed into the underside of her radius. Obviously, it is buried beneath muscle so she will not feel it, but it will provide the support the bone needs to heal. Dr. Rosen ground up the 2mm piece of bone he removed and placed it around the area where he cut. It will graft onto the bone and make it stronger.

This was an outpatient surgery, so Emelie went home with her arm sutured, bandaged into a splint, and secured in a sling (the nerve block did not wear off until about 3:00 this morning). She is very uncomfortable, but we are able to stay on top of it with her pain medication.

Though Kienböck’s Disease is rare, the majority of people who do end up with it tend to be significantly older than Emelie (40+ years of age). Dr. Rosen feels her age is to her benefit when it comes to the healing of her radius and the revascularization of the lunate.

Our prayer is that the lunate takes care of itself. If it continues to fracture that will require an additional surgery or two, so if you are prayer warriors, please tack that one on your list for her. I know our family would really appreciate it.

SPECIAL THANKS to all the prayer warriors who lifted her up before and after surgery. We love you. You are a blessing!

I was going to title this post “Kienböck’s Update: Emelie is Screwed”, but Jeff confirmed my suspicion that it may offend more people than it makes laugh. So, I’ve included it here at the base of the post because if you’ve read this far you understand the joke and KNOW it’s funny. If you aren’t laughing and still think I’m crude, well yeah…I tend to be, at times.

Heather Sanders


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