Mike is a firm believer that wide awake hand surgery has clear advantages over general anaesthetic or regional block. Using wide awake hand surgery, the patient is able to give feedback during the operation such as moving the finger or hand.
In this complex operation on this elite climber, Mike was able to get the tension of the repair at the level he wanted by asking her the flex the fingers. If the patient was asleep it would have been guess work. On table Mike was able to see that the reconstruction was doing what it was meat to do and had no catching or early on table failure such as a re rupture.
Molly was quoted this week on sky sports.
"I’m terrified of needles, doctors and dentists, but I just had to be brave. I was so stressed. All these people kept walking around me talking about equipment and blades! They seemed excited about watching. After two and a half hours, it was finally over."
Climber and Sky Sports Scholar Molly Thompson-Smith has just begun her recovery after undergoing open hand surgery while still awake.
The 20-year-old from London re-lives the moment her finger cracked in training, her historic operation and how she intends to break the boredom of an enforced sabbatical by rebuilding her mind and body.
The most annoying thing is not being able to tie my hair up! I've only got one hand.
My hands are so precious in my sport, and most of my training uses them. Now I can't do much at all - not even pull-ups!
Five days before Christmas I visited my coaches in Leeds for some training. I was climbing with my boyfriend and he was telling me to warm up faster! I told him I wanted to take my time because I didn't want to get injured!
And guess what! An hour into my session I was on this hold and I heard three crunchy cracks so I let go immediately. I was in shock and started to cry. I wasn't sure why I was crying initially because it didn't hurt that much, but I knew whatever I had done was bad.
My finger felt funny and it ballooned up before turning blue. I knew I'd be out for a while. It's the worse injury I've ever had. I've had tweaky fingers that stopped me climbing for some weeks but this is the longest I'll be out for since I started.
Road to recovery starts now! Thanks so much for all your kind messages
Thanks so so much to @mike_hayton for fixing me up!
If you’d like to see a picture of Mike’s wonderful work head over to my Instagram page (@mollyts123) and swipe left! Warning: It’s gruesome!!
An X-ray showed all my bones were fine and two days later I had an ultrasound. It was clear immediately I had fully ruptured my A2, A3 and A4 pulleys which is super rare.
I had a climbing trip planned in Spain which was supposed to be half -holiday and half-training for two and a half weeks.
All I could do was sit, watch everyone climb and read a book. I was also with all the girls I compete with so I was very jealous. I am a very competitive person and it was hard not being able to climb with them and try what they tried.
I tried helping out with the cooking but everyone was worried I'd cut my finger off chopping vegetables! It was so annoying not being able to do anything.
And to my operation! I came home early from Spain to travel to Wigan for surgery on January 9th. I had a local anaesthetic in my hand and my surgeon Mike Hayton had to explore the damage because you couldn't tell where the pulleys had ruptured from the ultrasound alone.
They had all snapped down the middle meaning he had to cut into the back of my wrist to construct three new pulleys in my finger.
My surgeon was so excited! He said it was the first pulley reconstruction they knew of that had been done with the patient awake. I had a nice big hole in the back of my wrist to show for it!
Being awake for the op meant I could open and close my hand, allowing him to ensure the pulley had the correct tightness, the tendon could glide smoothly and the whole system worked OK.
I got through the surgery and now it's all about finger exercises and opening and closing them. I won't be able to drive for a while but at least my rehab starts now.
I've accepted now I won't be climbing for a while but when I do come back I will be the best I can be!
It's not often a climber gets the chance to build from nothing. My body will be fully rested and in good condition and I'm so excited to see where I can go.
My fingers hopefully will be stronger and I'll definitely be more careful with them having seen how my tendons work. I'll appreciate my fingers much more - it's an amazing, complex system!
If all goes well other climbers may even start to change the way they approach training, with more of a rest from climbing before the season starts focusing on general fitness. Soon I'll be doing yoga regularly and I should eventually see huge improvements in my performance.
I go up to Sheffield soon and my plan is to educate myself on things like nutrition. I also want to learn German because it's a useful language in climbing and my boyfriend is from Germany.
He says he's ready to cook, do the dishes and tie my hair up. I can already say 'danke' which I think could be important!
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