The Daily Telegraph’s?Gareth A Davies?interviewed Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC?s orthopedic surgeon who performed the hour-long surgical procedure Sunday on former UFC middleweight champion. Sanders watched the fight from cageside and said ?the minute it occurred, I?m sitting there going, ?That?s fixable.'”
However, although Silva was up on crutches after 48 hours, the injury was close to being far, far worse even than it looked.
“Fortunately for Anderson, the skin did not break,” said Dr. Sanders. “But where could an injury like that go? An injury like that could go where, as I mentioned, the skin breaks, and now you’ve got this exposed bone in the environment of an Octagon, and so his risk of infection goes up meteorically. He could have also twisted in such a different direction where he could’ve potentially lacerated an artery going to the foot, in which case you now have what we call vascular compromise. He could’ve, in that case, potentially needed a vascular reconstructive procedure to reattach an artery. Injuries like this can, at times, even be limb threatening. If the fracture is severe enough, if it compromises vascular supply to the feet and vascular supply cannot be reestablished, it can result in an amputation.”
“In this particular case, you had a bad fracture occur. Fortunately it occurred outside the joints. So having occurred outside the joint, when the fracture heals, the bone will reassume its original strength. In addition to it achieving its original strength, he will also have a titanium rod that is 11.5 millimeters in diameter shoring up that area as well.”
?”Titanium rod and screws could stay in his leg if wanted. Surgery was one hour.”
??We?re not even 48 hours from the surgery, and tibia fractures, though we can get them to heal, can have a slower healing. My prognosis for healing is three to six months. But there are also soft tissue components that have to heal. If I had to make a guess less than 48 hours from the operation, it would be the fracture healing in three to six months, and attempting to train, six to nine months. You don’t rehab a broken bone, it heals itself.”
??As an orthopedic surgeon, when any injury occurs, we like to know that it?s from the trauma and not from some unsuspected underlying condition. From the x-rays, I looked at the character of the bone to see if there was any predisposition to why it would break. Obviously, he?s been training and competing most of his life. There was no apparent predisposing pathology in that bone that would have led to this particular event occurring at that time.?
?”How soft tissue regenerates will be the key to how he can throw and land leg kicks again.”
?”His age does not play a part in fracture healing.”
?”When the fracture heals, the bone will re-assume and achieve its original strength. No higher risk, in general, of the bone breaking again. Titanium rod adds strength to the limb.”
?”He has spontaneously mentioned me in the pre-op area, his question was, ?When can I train?’ And he has asked me every time, when I see him on my rounds, he asks: ?Will I be able to train? When can I train?’ And I have always indicated to him that he should be able train.”
Lawrence Epstein, the UFC?s chief operating officer, was also on the call, and said Silva’s family is also being looked after.
?I know other members of our team have been at the hospital making sure that everything is moving in the right direction from a nonmedical standpoint, making sure everything he and his family needs is taken care of,” said Epstein. “The most important thing is Anderson make a speedy and complete recovery.?