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Muscle Flap Procedure

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  • Muscle Flap Procedure

    I received a shrapnel wound to my thigh while serving in Afghanistan last July. The wound has since closed and reopened a couple of times. I am currently on my third course of antibiotics and my doctor told me that he wants to use a muscle flap to fill in the empty space in my leg if the wound is not healed in a couple of weeks. I was not told anything about the procedure, but after doing some research it seems like I have a long and painful recovery process ahead of me if they do this surgery. I was wondering if someone could give me more concrete information on the time it takes to recover from this. From what I gather, it seems like i will be spending months mostly in bed. I was wondering how long it will be before I can walk and if I can realistically be an infantryman in the near future or if this will cause me to be medically discharged since I have less than a year and a half left on my contract. I would be particularly interested to hear from other veterans that have had this procedure. I am married and have an 18 month old son and another son on the way, so I would also like to hear how this procedure has affected people with families.

  • #2
    This is only addressing your worry of your future, not the medical procedure.

    The bad news, the military is drawing down numbers. That does make wavers more difficult.

    I don't know if you are Marine or Army, or how many years of service you have. In either case, the longer you have served, and the higher your rank, the better your chances of staying in.

    The Army's process will consider retaining you and retraining you if you meet certain criteria, which it seems you do.
    Played with bombs- No SCI, Brain Damage enough that I require a chair and a caregiver.

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    • #3
      Nate, I assume you do not have a spinal cord injury. The members of this forum are veterans with SCI or disease.

      A flap procedure for the thigh would not necessarily require weeks of bedrest if you are AB, but it would require initially bedrest as you cannot flex the joint above or below the flap (your hip or knee) at all for several weeks. If they are flapping muscle (myocutaneous flap) in addition to the other tissue, then you need to know which muscle is going to be used, and the impact this may have on your eventual PT readiness. I think you need to talk to the plastic surgeon (military I assume) who will be doing your procedure about what the recovery will entail.

      In my experience, you are more likely to be able to continue in service if you are in the Army, Navy or Air Force, and less likely in the Marines, as the Marine Corps needs all their soldiers to be field combat ready, and does not really have non-combatant support positions in their ranks.

      (KLD)
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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