Saving a leg at Wayne Memorial

New tech made it possible

Posted 3/3/22

HONESDALE, PA — Herbert Baker is banking on a titanium implant in his leg to help him walk again.

The 63-year-old Shohola man underwent two surgeries at Wayne Memorial Hospital to battle a …

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Saving a leg at Wayne Memorial

New tech made it possible

Posted

HONESDALE, PA — Herbert Baker is banking on a titanium implant in his leg to help him walk again.

The 63-year-old Shohola man underwent two surgeries at Wayne Memorial Hospital to battle a raging infection in his distal tibia—part of the bony structure of his ankle.

Dr. Glenn Woodley, the doctor of podiatry who performed this first-ever 3D custom-implant surgery at Wayne Memorial, said it was Baker’s “best hope to keep his leg and have it be functional again.”

Sometime after Baker broke his left leg and ankle in the 1990s, a wound developed and an insidious infection set in. The bone began to deteriorate and over the years, the damage got progressively worse. Antibiotics helped, but not enough.

In October of 2021, Baker and Dr. Woodley agreed to move ahead with the implant. The alternatives were to prescribe another intense course of antibiotics, which may or may not have worked, or amputate the leg below the knee.

During the first surgery in October, Dr. Woodley removed all the infected bone, inserted antibiotic “spacers” to clear out any remaining infection and placed a large metal “fixator” around Baker’s leg to stabilize it in place of the missing bone.

Then Baker had to wait two months to be certain the infection had been vanquished and for the implant to be made. CT scans of his leg and both ankles were performed to be assured of an anatomical match.  

In December, Baker’s fixator was removed. Then he went back to the OR at Wayne Memorial, where Dr. Woodley placed the implant.

The tibia, which is the long bone of the lower leg, below the knee, has three parts: the proximal, shaft and distal section. Baker’s distal tibia was replaced by the implant.

“The implant is very lightweight and porous enough to allow for bony ingrowth,” said Dr. Woodley, “which will help stabilize the leg further.”  

Baker, who makes his living as a mechanic for a garbage business, still cannot put weight on his affected leg. He needs to wait 10-to-12 weeks post-surgery, which will mean sometime in March.

“I am really looking forward to that day,” said Baker. “It’s been a long haul.”

Dr. Woodley opened his practice last year at 3355 Lake Ariel Hwy. in Honesdale. He can be reached at 570/228-2990.

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