Prior to your clinic visit, you should make a list of your questions for the doctor and bring the list to the clinic.
You will have a significant number of clinic visits during your treatment. Be sure to discuss this with the home-based team member who is helping you during treatment. It is likely that you will require transportation to and from these visits and your home-based team member should accompany you to each visit.
During the lengthening/correction phase, you may visit the clinic weekly or every two weeks so that your surgeon can monitor how you are progressing.
During the consolidation phase, you may visit the clinic once a month.
Office visits may range from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on what work or evaluations need to be performed. Please be patient and plan for extra time for clinic appointments. They may be longer than expected depending on your stage of treatment.
At your clinic visit you will have radiographs (x-rays) taken to determine the amount of correction/bone growth achieved. It may be necessary to repeat x-rays or order additional views; this may take extra time but be assured that it is necessary to evaluate your progress properly. You may also have modifications made to the fixator and we appreciate your cooperation and patience. If you have other appointments or are traveling from out of town please allow for these possible delays. Be sure to ask the clinic staff for prescriptions (either for medication or therapy) prior to leaving the clinic.
Follow-up Visits May Include:
Measuring the distraction amount since your last visit.
Assessing the range of motion of the joints above and below the external fixator for contractures. Contractures occur when the joint is not exercised. Without exercise the tendons and muscles shorten causing joint deformity, stiffness, limited mobility and pain.2
Checking the pin sites for inflammation or infection.
Checking the external fixator frame for loose wires, nuts and bolts.
Taking x-rays to check the rate and progress of the lengthening/correction and assess the quality of the new bone growth.