Technique Pioneered by TMC Podiatrist
When Pam Ramey, 59, sought help for arthritis in her ankle back in 2007, she was sent to Dallas where she underwent six fusion surgeries. Because one incision on her ankle wouldn’t close, her previous doctor recommended a therapeutic boot, which she wore for five years.
Over time, Ramey developed an infection and ultimately a temperature of 104.8 degrees. Luckily, her physical therapist sent her to Craig Cranford, DPM, a podiatrist at Texoma Medical Center.
Dr. Cranford inserted antibiotic beads in an emergency surgery to curb the serious staph infection in Ramey’s ankle. This was followed by hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help heal the infection. Dr. Cranford then replaced Ramey’s damaged joint with bone taken from her leg, and used a circular frame (an “Ex-fix”) to provide solid fusion of the joint and minimize further tissue damage. Acting as “scaffolding,” the Ex-fix stabilized Ramey’s ankle so it could heal.
“Patients are able to walk on the Ex-fix right away,” says Dr. Cranford, explaining that the frame immobilizes the ankle while supporting it with fine tension wires in a “suspension bridge” principle. “Pins attached to the frame are inserted through the tibia, so the bone is bearing the person’s weight.” Having used the Ex-fix many times in his previous practice, Dr. Cranford pioneered the technique at TMC. He was also the first doctor in the United States to use the newest version – called the Stryker Hoffman Limb Reconstruction Frame — made out of carbon fiber. “It’s extremely lightweight so it’s easier on patients,” says Dr. Cranford.
Ramey, a grandmother of five, was anxious but optimistic about being the first patient using a new product. “I told Dr. Cranford, if it will save my foot, let’s go ahead.”
Today Ramey’s fused ankle doesn’t bend, but it’s completely healed. “I’m so glad to be able to do things with my grandkids and watch them grow up,” says Ramey, who’s relearning how to walk on her foot. “I tell Dr. Cranford he’s my rock star. He saved my foot and saved my life."