A young man recovers his ability to walk after a serious traffic accident

After two years of receiving surgery and treatment in many different hospitals, Mr T. H. Vinh (25 years old, Ho Chi Minh City) thought he could not walk, stand or even sit normally again. But after receiving care at FV Hospital, he is now able to drive a motorbike and walk unaided. “I was introduced to FV by an acquaintance by sheer good luck,” Vinh says, happily, after finishing a follow-up visit at FV’s Bone & Joint Centre.

Two years ago, Vinh was involved in a traffic accident and suffered a serious leg injury. He was hospitalised for treatment at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, where his doctor informed him that his right femur was broken and he had an open fracture of his right ankle. After the first surgery, the doctors discovered Mr Vinh’s right knee was also dislocated. Mr Vinh underwent another three surgeries to repair his femur and knee joints using metal pins. After four months of surgical treatment, Mr Vinh moved to the internal medicine department of another hospital for another four months.

At both hospitals, Mr Vinh’s doctors recommended that he has his joints welded to keep his legs straight. However, because he is young, Mr Vinh and his family wanted to find a treatment solution that helped to preserve the functions of his foot and leg better.

“My family and I didn’t agree with that proposal because welding the joints would have meant my legs couldn’t bend and stretch normally. I was very worried,” explains Mr Vinh. He and his family decided to seek alternative opinions, and Mr Vinh was referred to FV Hospital.

Dr Vinh Khiem in consultation with Mr Vinh, detailing the next steps in treatment
Dr Vinh Khiem in consultation with Mr Vinh, detailing the next steps in treatment

Dr Truong Hoang Vinh Khiem (Bone and Joint Centre, FV Hospital) was put in charge of Mr Vinh’s treatment. He said: “This is a relatively difficult case because Vinh came to us a long time after his accident. His knee and ankle joints were completely degenerated and stiff, and the peroneal nerve was paralysed.”

However, despite being warned that the treatment had a low chance of success, Vinh wanted to take any shot he had at being able to walk normally.

Considering his patient’s wishes and medical condition, Dr Vinh Khiem also made every effort to find a solution that would help Mr Vinh regain the normal use of his legs.

First, Dr Khiem performed surgery to release Vinh’s ankle. He attached an instrument to lengthen his Achilles tendon, placed a fixed frame outside the ankle, and increased the frame amplitude each week in follow-up visits.

After eight weeks, Mr Vinh’s ankle is stable, and he can walk with crutches. The next step was to release the knee joint, which was more challenging but ultimately successful: once he was able to flex his knee joint up to 90 degrees, Vinh was able to walk.

Dr Vinh Khiem cautions that although the surgery is successful, the patient will still need to continue to receive treatment to reduce chronic joint pain and maintain the desired range of motion of the knee joint.

Mr Vinh is very satisfied with his treatment results. “Before I could not walk. I could only sit and lie down due to the stiffness in my legs, which were always in the same position. Now I can walk more than 50 metres with crutches, and a little less without crutches. My legs can also bend so that I can ride a motorbike, instead of always having to keep my legs straight, as before.”

Mr Vinh walking after surgery
Mr Vinh walking after surgery

Vinh will receive a tendon transfer surgery in his ankle to complete his initial course of treatment in the near future.”I was very comfortable receiving treatment at FV. Dr Khiem explained every step of my treatment to me, so I felt confident and hopeful in my care protocol. The service at FVH is always excellent, right from the door,” Vinh says of his experience.

In addition to the attending doctor treating him, Mr Vinh is also highly appreciative of his team of nurses and physiotherapists who were dedicated to his care and guided him during the treatment process. Now, Mr Vinh says his care team are “as close as relatives”.

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