A blog reader had a great question. She was wondering what I mean when I'm talking about Mason's leg contractures. I really don't have a great explanation without pictures so here are a bunch from this morning. As you can see just from the first photo, Mason's legs do not stay stretched out on their own. His right leg tends to be pulled up even further than the picture shows, but this is a good representation. His right leg has the worst contractures.
These contractures began rapidly during a growth spurt because Mason's spinal cord is tethered. Usually the spinal cord is floating around in the spinal vertebrae. His has stuck to the scar tissue from his back closure because he's missing part of several vertebrae. When the spinal cord is stretched tight like this it causes neurological symptoms and ultimately does permanent damage. The detethering surgery Mason has on Monday will hopefully remove this underlying problem.
That will still leave us with tendons and muscles that have contracted, or shortened. Mason will probably need surgeries on the right hip, right foot, and left foot to lengthen or release those tightened muscles and tendons, followed by casts. We don't know the details on those surgeries and won't until his tethered cord is fixed and things heal. There is a possibility that some intense physical therapy will stretch the left foot back out and make some gains on the right hip and foot. We will talk all that over with the orthopedic surgeon when we get to that point.
To change topics for a moment - I wanted to share here photos of Mason's back as it looks today. If you read back through the first year of his life we tried to update photos of his back scar as he grew. With the surgery on Monday we will once again have healing to do and what is pale and much less noticeable now will become an angry red slash again. I want these pictures to remind me that scars fade in time.
Well, if you've read through this long post I thank you! I hope that some of what I share here helps others. As always, if you have any questions for me feel free to ask! You can leave a comment or email me at tdrowlee1 AT gmail DOT com.