According to medical experts questioning his ability to play professional golf, Tiger Woods suffered a prolonged crash in a car accident on the lower leg on Tuesday.
Athletes with severe leg injuries managed to make a comeback to ruin their careers – quarterback Alex Smith began playing football after a horrific leg break last season, and golfer Ben Hogan decades ago following a car accident Are back
But Woods’ injuries are more widespread, and the path to his recovery is fraught with serious obstacles. Infections, inadequate bone healing and, in Woods’s case, previous injuries and chronic back problems can make recovery even more difficult over a month-long or even longer, and reduce the likelihood that it will Will play again.
In an accident near Los Angeles, Woods had a lower right leg broken and his right leg severely injured, and his leg muscles were so inflamed that the surgeon had to cut open tissue to remove the pressure. Had to be bitten, Chief Medical Officer Drs. Aneesh Mahajan, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where Woods, 45, was treated, wrote in a Twitter message posted on Woods’ account.
Doctors also inserted a rod into Wood’s calf bone and attached screws and pins to his leg and ankle. Physicians familiar with these types of injuries usually describe the complications they bring.
The head of the orthopedic trauma unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Drs. R. Malcolm Smith said injuries were often seen among drivers involved in a car accident. They usually occur when the driver pressures the brake as the car spins out of control.
When the front end of the car is broken, immense force is transmitted to the driver’s right leg and foot. “Every day with car crashes happen in this country,” Dr. Smith said.
Dr. Smith said such lower leg fractures bring “massive disability” and other serious consequences. “There is a very rough estimate that it has a 70 percent chance of recovering completely,” he said.
The crash resulted in a spate of injuries. This broke Wood’s calf bones, with primary pauses and bone fragments scattered throughout the upper and lower parts of the bones. When bones broke in Woods’ shin, he damaged muscles and tendons; Pieces poked from his skin.
The stroke caused bleeding and swelling in his leg, threatening his muscles. Surgeons had to quickly cut the layer of thick tissue covering their leg muscles to remove the swelling. If they are not, the tissue that covers the inflamed muscle acts like a blood vessel, disrupting blood flow. The muscle can die within four to six hours.
It is possible that some muscles died between the accident and surgery, Drs. Smith said: “Once you lose it, you can’t get it back.”
Patients who have this procedure should stay in the hospital until the swelling in the muscles has subsided. This may take a week or longer. Sometimes, swelling even after several weeks is not enough to close the wound, so surgeons have to color the skin above the opening.
Dr., a reconstructive surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. Kyle Eberlin said that to close the pores where the bones protrude out of the skin, doctors should often transplant the skin from the thigh or back, a procedure known as a free flap. They cut pieces of skin in the form of a football and, using a microscope, carefully reattach small blood vessels – about a millimeter in diameter – from skin implants to blood vessels near wounds.
Dr. Smith said the infection is a risk with fractures that break through the skin and in the worst cases with amputation after surgery to insert rods and pins into the bones. The probability of infection depends on the degree of contamination and the size of the wound.
In car accidents, gravel and sometimes dirt can be found in wounds, increasing the likelihood of infection, Drs. Eberlin said.
And opening the muscle cover may increase the risk of infection, Drs. Said Reza Firozabadi, an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
In major trauma centers such as Massachusetts General or UCLA, the free flap procedure is performed within 48 hours. But it is more specific to operate within a week of injury, Drs. Eberlin said.
The rehabilitation will be long and spectacular. If Woods needed a free flap – which, trauma surgeons said, is likely – “it would be months and months before he could bear the weight on his leg again,” Dr. Eberlin said.
Dr. Firozabadi said that Woods is also at risk of fractures that do not heal or that grow very slowly. “To fix things, you need good blood flow,” he said. “With this type of injury, blood flow is interrupted.”
As a result, he said, it can take five to 14 months for Woods’ lower leg bones to grow together, assuming they do so.
The biggest obstacle would be his leg and ankle injury, Drs. Firozabadi and others said. It can take from three months to a year to get the range of speed and power. Depending on the extent of those injuries, Woods is barely able to walk even after rehabilitation.
His rehabilitation by surgery in December can be complicated. Woods have also gone to rehabilitation for addiction to painkillers; Pain management during her recovery can now be difficult.
Nevertheless, some athletes have returned from serious injuries. Smith had a leg injury at the Washington football team quarterback and returned to play in October. But it took two years and 17 surgeries, and the way he caused wounds and sepsis infection was a life-threatening condition. And Smith did not have leg and ankle injuries.
Golfer Ben Hogan fractured his collarbone, pelvis, left ankle and a rib. The injuries were serious but not compared to Woods’ injuries.
With his foot and ankle injuries and serious injuries to his leg, Woods “may never play golf again,” Dr. Smith said.