The Nitty Gritty

Typically, CECS develops bi-laterally (in both legs), but in my instance, my right leg is asymptomatic.  Although my surgeon generally does all four compartments on both legs, we made the decision to only operate on one leg.  This is not an easy decision for me and I am still waffling on whether it is the right call.  On one hand, if my right leg is fine, surgery introduces unnecessary risk.  However, if I develop symptoms in my right leg, an additional surgery means another 6 month break.  Given the general risk of surgery and anesthesia, I think I’ve made the right call.

On Wednesday, Dr. Slauterbeck will make two 10 cm incisions on my left calf.  One will be on the lateral aspect of the calf, about halfway between my knee and ankle.  A second will be on the medial aspect, where the meat of the calf is.  In this incision, he will cut deep to remove the muscle from the bone. Each of these incisions will be used to cut open the fascia and give my compartments some breathing room. Fascia are a spider-web like material that serve to contain muscles and are a vital part of the function of the muscle.  Because of their delicate makeup, however, they can also become problematic.  People who suffer from PF can certainly attest to this.

All told, this is a relatively simple procedure. I’m doing spinal anesthesia, which means I will be numb from the waist down.  This is far less risky than general and a great option for this type of procedure.  For me, the hardest part is likely to be the pain medications, which I don’t tolerate well at all.  After my wisdom teeth were removed, I didn’t even fill the prescription because Vicodin upsets my stomach. In this case, however, I think I am going to need the pain meds for at least a few days.  Any suggestions for tolerating these meds are welcomed.

After the surgery, I will be on crutches for about a week, then on low activity for an additional week.  I can swim at 2 weeks (assuming my scars are healing properly), bike at 4 weeks and begin running again at 6 weeks.  I am also lucky to have a friend as my Physical Therapist who is also a runner.  I trust him to push me when I need a push and to be conservative when we need to be conservative.  I am hopeful that by mid-June, I will be back to moderate running and be able to look towards the fall and an October half-marathon.

2 thoughts on “The Nitty Gritty

  1. Jennnnn

    Hey, thanks for starting this blog. I am going to my sports med spec. on Thursday to get my diagnosis, I am reasonably certain it's CECS for me as well.

    Let me ask you something, is your insurance covering this surgery? I read something on some website where someone said it was considered elective surgery, though I am not sure how that could be since CECS could turn into Acute CS if not treated.

    Best wishes with your impending surgery and recovery. I will be following up to see how this goes for you.

    Jenn

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  2. Sarah

    Jenn:
    Best wishes on your appointment on Thursday. My insurance is covering the surgery as far as I know. Fasciotomy is “elective” in that you could live without it, but not the same as cosmetic surgery, which is rarely covered. I would call your insurance company, but because CECS can degenerate (as with me), it seems likely that it would be covered.

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