Anthony Cicalese

Leg bone injury

July, 2017

Last year I suffered a gunshot wound from a hollow point 9mm bullet that shattered my left femur. Surgery was performed introducing a pin that runs the length of my thigh inside what was left of the bone in my leg. The damage was quite extensive as you can imagine. The bone was completely shattered and detached mid-thigh.

I have attached an x-ray of what my leg looked like immediately after the first emergency surgery.   After six or seven months the Orthopedist was not satisfied with the amount of healing that had taken place and he wanted to perform a bone graft surgery, taking bone from my hip and from a cadaver and placing it where the bone was not connecting.

This surgery is quite invasive and probably would have taken a year to recover from fully if it even worked at all. I really wanted to avoid this. I am not a big fan of surgery.   Dr. Messen is my doctor but also a very close friend and he knew that I wanted to avoid this surgery at all cost if possible. We began to talk about the stem cell procedure that I eventually decided to have him perform on the leg to see if it could induce enough closure of the large gaps that were still present between the pieces of my femur.

One whole side of the femur had been completely blown away and for about four inches in length there was absolutely no bone at all as well as smaller gaps between the pieces all round the site of the bullet impact.   My Orthopedist was not very optimistic and told me that I was wasting my time. I told him that I would try anything to avoid the second surgery and that I wanted to try this. The procedure was done and the Orthopedist ordered a TAC Scan of the leg just six weeks after the procedure to see if there was indeed any bone growth.  

When he saw the scan he could not believe his eyes. More bone had grown in the six weeks after the procedure than had grown in nearly eight months after the incident! He immediately said lets do it one more time, this time using a much higher volume of cells and give it one last chance to produce enough bone so as to stabilize my leg and let me get on with my life.   We did the third procedure 10 weeks ago.

Yesterday another TAC Scan was done on the leg and I am happy to tell you that the skeptical orthopedist told me that he now sees no further need for any more surgery. The bone has 75% closure which along with the pin will adequately support my leg and let me get on with my life! He was really amazed at the amount of bone that had grown and filled in in such a short period of time. He has even begun recommending this procedure to his other patients that are candidates fir such a procedure!  

I can walk, stand on one leg again and now all that is needed is to begin to strengthen the leg again. The procedure itself was quick, and relatively painless. I can’t thank Leslie, (Dr Messen) enough for giving me this alternative and I could not be more pleased with the results. They far exceeded my expectations and certainly those of the Orthopedist.

I am confident that the bone will continue to strengthen over time and that I am on the road to a full recovery. I would highly recommend the procedure to anyone that is faced with such an invasive surgery as I was being faced with.