It has been a big day in the journey ahead for Matthew, as he recovers tonight from the first of a series of operations on his stumps that aim to improve his quality of life. He and Diane are currently in Melbourne, where Matthew is starting on a procedure known as osseointegration, whereby (in very simple terms) titanium is grafted to his bone. The engineers amongst you might enjoy this site which explains the technique: http://www.branemark.se/Osseointegration.html, and Matthew’s implants were actually manufactured by Branemark. The technology being used can be seen here: http://www.integrum.se/. His surgery has been coordinated by Steven Gray at Melbourne’s AlfredHealth, and his surgery today involved surgeon Dr Philip Slattery and anaesthetist Dr Joe Marich, all of whom have been really wonderful.
It’s been a bit of a journey to get to this point, and a few of us were a bit nervous about more surgery, to put it mildly. Matthew appeared to be very confident, and it was only when a few tears were shed when he awoke this afternoon that he revealed how brave he had actually been.
If things go well, and it’s been a great start, he will have the initial procedures completed on both his leg stumps later this month, and then in December, he will have his stumps ‘lengthened’ just slightly. Sockets are difficult to manage, given the lack of length of Matthew’s stumps, so osseointegration offers a range of new options with prosthetics.
We’re not sure how long he will be in hospital, but the kids are in great hands with Na and Papa over the next week or so.
A few photos are attached, and we’ll keep you posted as to his progress.