Heydenreich Still On The Mend

NationalSpeedSportNews.com -- Indianapolis—April 12, 2012

Johnny Heydenreich was finally “back home again in Indiana” in mid-March, nearly four months after he left Indianapolis to attend the Performance Racing Industry show in Orlando, Fla.

Heydenreich was seriously injured in a traffic accident when he was driving back to Indianapolis to prepare for the International Motorsports Industry Show at the Indiana Convention Center.

Heydenreich’s right ankle was so badly injured that he risked losing his foot and the bottom of that leg.

Since that fateful morning Heydenreich has undergone three surgeries. He is currently an outpatient of Dr. Robert Rozbruch at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Heydenreich is still on crutches but he’s doing well and expects to return to racing this summer.

He underwent a four-hour surgery on the ankle Jan. 10. At that time Dr. Rozbruch used the Ilizarov method, which entails the use of an external fixator device, to reconstruct and save Heydenreich's ankle.

In this process a bone that has been cut during surgery can be gradually distracted (pulled apart), leading to new bone formation (osteogenesis) at the site of the lengthening.

Dr. Rozbruch inserted three circular external fixation devices (metal rings) and bone marrow from other parts of Heydenreich’s body to regenerate the bones in his ankle.

“Johnny suffered a pilon fracture, which is one of the most challenging fractures in orthopedics,” said Dr. Rozbruch, director of the limb lengthening and complex reconstruction service at HSS.

“I was able to stabilize the fracture and place the fixator in such a way that it would gradually correct the deformity, because Johnny’s ankle was already healing in a position that was crooked,” Dr. Rozbruch said. “We were also able to protect the cartilage in his ankle to lower the risk of arthritis. The fixator actually enables ankle cartilage to regenerate. It’s a joint preservation technique.”

“Within 5 minutes of meeting Dr. Rozbruch I knew he was the man for the job,” Heydenreich said.

This story originally appeared at NationalSpeedSportNews.com.


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