Full recovery for Madison Birdwell may be years away, but, on July 21, she saw her surgeon, Dr. Andrew Trussler, as an outpatient at Children’s Medical Center at Legacy in Plano. Her healing is progressing. “He said I was ahead on the healing schedule.”
Madison knows she may have other surgeries but the biggest part is over and she’ll not need any major surgeries. A year from now, there might be a laser surgery to make the skin grafts on her leg “look more like normal skin.” She’s also facing a long process of physical therapy. But she has her leg and she will not be in pain, Dr. Trussler said, and for that she is thankful.
The Oklahoma teen says of her ordeal: “Mentally, that was kind of hard.” But she remembers these encouraging words from the plastic surgeon: “Dr. Trussler joked that as long as I didn’t want to be an Olympic high jumper, that I would be fine. That’s about the only thing I wouldn’t be able to do.”
Dr. Trussler said degloving accidents like Madison’s, where the skin is stripped off the extremity, are fairly common. Children’s Medical Center sees about one a month.
The injury is very severe and often also involves the stripping of muscle. Madison’s muscles were intact, thus saving her from having to have another type of muscle flap surgery. Dr. Trussler said of Madison’s surgery: “It was a good save.”