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Plushenko having back surgery to replace a disc

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Nikki Lee, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    translating from his website: http://evgeni-plushenko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6&start=2090

    Director of the clinic where Plushenko is being treated Igor Pyatigorski:

    Our clinic has a department specialized in sport trauma, so Evgeni Plushenko was advised to come to us for examination. During the examination, his physician, a surgeon, the one who is treating him, Dr. Ilya Pekarski (a very good man and a wonderful spinal surgeon) examined Evgeni, checked his MRI that the patient brought with him, ... checked his foot functioning, and recommended the surgery. His MRI clearly stated that his disk is destructed, his foot was weak. This means that the nerve is pinched, therefore the leg will be always weak and in pain.

    If it' just pain, we usually choose to treat with medication, injections, etc. But if the nerve is compressed, then we offer the surgery.

    When yesterday the operation began, he saw that the situation is actually much worse than it could have been predicted by MRI. It turned out that he had an old hernia (which he had treated several times, by the way) and a new hernia, the one that compresses the nerve. It is in the lumbosacral spine. This department is responsible for the strength of legs, and exactly there he had a hernia that was compressing the nerve. It was not only the pressure, but the disk was completely destroyed. It was destroyed to the point that there was the second hernia that was also pressing on the nerve. In such situation it was necessary to do the surgery.

    The operation was supposed to be for two hours, but in fact it lasted more than three. During the operation they removed the destructed disc and put the disc from the polymeric material. I got furious when today I read that the disk was plastic. In fact, it is a very complex polymer material, very strong, and it is no worse than our natural disk given us by God. So he replaced it completely, put the polymer material, moreover, he also put a dynamic silicone clamp. Why do we need that clamp- it's like a spring that took some certain function: since Evgeni's disk was worn out and we had to replace it with the artificial one, we had to keep the height of the spine that Zhenya had before the injury. So, with the new disk and the clamp we brought Evgeni's spine in its primary state, as if he was born just yesterday.

    Igor, please could you tell us how Eugene could skate on the ice, not mentioning his results and wins.

    We are all Russian people, Russian-speaking people, I do not need to quote what Doctor Pekarski said, I don't think newspapers will write that. We believe that even every day routine in the gym was hard, it was hard to live with such pain.

    How could Zhenya skate and achieve such success in the sport with his back condition? Well, I guess it is because he is not an average man, he is the Olympic champion. When you talk about these people, keep in mind that they are not ordinary people. Evgeni suffered too much, he basically lived on painkillers all the time. That was bad.

    When the initial examination was taking place (I again jump to the pre-op period), he almost did not feel his leg. This indicated that the nerve was pinched and it didn't give the full feeling, so, perhaps, ironically sometimes Evgeni felt less pain. But it also resulted in a weak foot, the foot wasn't strong enough. But last night after the surgery Doctor Pekarski told me: look, immediately after the surgery Evgeni felt the power in his toes - that's why Dc. Pekarski believes that the operation was successful. This means that the nerve is completely released. And after he is healed (his back - everything is on the screws there now), the pain will end and in 6-8 weeks Evgeni will be able to train. I think he will be able to fully realize that he is finally a healthy person. And to feel strength in the leg. He will feel much better and we hope that he will win the Sochi Olympics with honour!

    Is Evgeni the first figure skater who got the polymeric disk?

    Pyatigorski: I do not know. In our clinic Zhenya is indeed the first skater who went through this surgery. In fact, this is not some know-how, we have been using this method for five years. We had basketball players such as brothers Lavrinovichi, Smodis, ice-hockey players who went through such operations, they all have returned to their active sport career and playing now. In principle, this operation is not some top ones. Another thing is this particular one was quite a difficult thing because the disk was very badly damaged. This shows just how hard it was for him to skate. Now he's one hundred percent recovered, he now walk already!
    rfisher and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    "he basically lived on pain killers all the time". Hope he didn't become addicted. "One hundred percent recovered". I hope that is true but it is hard to believe.
  3. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

    Obviously the director of the clinic is not a physician - he's a good PR guy though. I am sure that the surgery went smoothly and that Evgeny's Dr. (who is clearly an expert in these things) hopes that there will be 100% function back over time. No doctor would ever say "100% recovered" right after surgery because there is no way they know that at this point. They do know that the surgery went well and they have no reason to think it will be other than successful. Now it's about time and patience and the ability of the body to heal.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  4. Glacier cat

    Glacier cat Member

  5. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    And that's the thing. If he is to contend for the Olympic gold in Sochi, he will have to resume training as fast as possible. But in order to recover fully he needs time. It's one or the other. He can't both have the cake and eat it.
  6. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    When a surgeon says the operation was "100% successful" they mean that the patient survived and there were no complications. Beyond that, it's out of their hands.
  7. Glacier cat

    Glacier cat Member

    Plushy will not give up no matter what others says. Last year after the Europeans 2012, he had a knee surgery in Germany. His doctor asked him if a three years guarantee would be enough. He answered that he does not need three years, just two years would be enough. I think this time also he would tell the same way.
  8. ballettmaus

    ballettmaus Well-Known Member

    It's not about "giving up". It's about knowing what is best for yourself and your body and knowing when enough is enough because you'll do more harm than good otherwise. That's not giving up, that's being smart. If there's a health risk, is it really worth taking.
  9. Eislauffan

    Eislauffan Well-Known Member

    I remember Daisuke Takhashi's knee injury from fall 2008. He was back on the ice in April 2009 and resumed jumping in June 2009 IIRC. He won the bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympic Games in February 2010. So if Evgeni Plushenko indeed recovers as the doctor said and can start training end of April (as stated in an other article) or even in May it would give him enough time. Sure, it is unpredictable how much his body can take and if there might be other injuries coming up. It will always be a gamble.
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    What does Daisuke's injury have to do with Evgeni's? Different body parts, different ages, different bodies.
  11. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    But Takahashi was younger, more than a year post-surgery, and hadn't had as many medical issues as Plushenko - and he still had a very up and down fall season, plus he struggled with some of the jumps for much of the season. Also, the technical standard of the men's event in Vancouver wasn't as high as the current one. I wish Plushenko well, but I think he's setting himself a very difficult goal.
  12. Milana

    Milana New Member

    But Plushenko's jumps are more consistent than Takahashi's, struggling with jumps might not be the case for Plushenko. He may need that surgery in the future anyway, why not give it a try now? The glory is too tempting to give up, whatever he decided to do, it's HIS business. I found some people here just got worried about other people's life too much.
  13. IceIceBaby

    IceIceBaby Active Member

    It's interesting that the final trigger to this surgery was his performance at Euros, not for example the fact that he couldn't feel his leg or had to start the day laying in hot bath tub to be able to walk. :rolleyes: If he hadn't fell the triple axel and maybe had gotten a medal, would he still have gone to the surgery? I don't think so. He had booked shows for the spring and even planned Worlds.
  14. ciocio

    ciocio Active Member

    Plushenko avoided the surgery as much as he could. What happened at Euros showed him he had to do it immediately and it was a smart decision in my opinion.
  15. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Because he fell on a jump? Please. He should have had treatment when he couldn't feel his leg anymore. Nerve damage can definitely get worse without treatment, and where would he be if the neurons controlling his leg won't listen to his brain anymore? Mind over matter, sure, but when a nerve doesn't work, a nerve doesn't work and then the muscles don't work. Period.

    I have a friend who had a neurological problem for years that was repeatedly misdiagnosed. Even though she is better, she can still fall over without warning, if one of her neurons fires a wayward signal to her legs. A few months ago she tripped on nothing and broke her knee. She is an otherwise healthy young adult and does advanced yoga, but her nerves are gonna do what they're gonna do.

    Sure, there have been other skaters who have taken painkillers to compete through an acute injury, but what Plushenko had was a chronic problem and wasn't going to get better without treatment.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  16. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member


    That is not what was said. What was said is that he was 100 per cent RECOVERED. Big difference and something that cannot be determined this soon after surgery. Possible after surgery complications are: Sensitivity to the artificial disc's materials
    • Breakage or wearing out of the disc's components
    • Dislocation of the implant
    • Damage to the vertebra to which the disc replacement is applied.
    • Failure to improve following the procedure

    All of these are in the realm of possibility, especially considering the stress the replacement disc will be subjected to practicing quad jumps.

    Just because Dai was fortunate doesn't mean Plush will be. I hope everything turns out splendidly, but there needs to be some cautious thinking here rather than painting this as already having a rosy outcome.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  17. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    He can cripple himself if he wants, it's no skin off my nose. Except I don't really enjoy watching someone torture themselves in front of the world. I really don't want to spend the Men's programs at the Olympics wondering if the world's finally going to see a skater get permanently-destructive injury on international television. At some point, your body says give up. And when you're in your thirties but have been doing an intense impact sport since you were a kid, it hurts a lot more than it did in your twenties. You don't have the body of an average thirtysomething, you have a skeleton that feels more like sixty.
  18. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    I do admire what he's been able to do in his career, but just how much more does he need that he has to risk permanent injury?
  19. DaiKozOda

    DaiKozOda Active Member

    Plushenko is an adult and he takes responsability for his own actions.
    As a big fan of him, I cannot tell him what to do. All I can do is hope he can recover quickly and be happy with whatever choices he makes.
  20. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    I would think the 100% recovered refers to the surgical procedure, meaning he's not experiencing any complications from the actual surgery. Whether he's 100% fixed is another matter, and I don't think anyone would presume a doctor would guarantee that immediately after surgery.
  21. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Is English the first language of the person who said, "recovered"? Is it a translation? Could there be a cultural difference in the way it's used in this context, such as " Out of the recovery room, awake and lucid after anesthesia," etc.?

    As far as numbness in the leg, I've experirnced it whenever I've had a sciatica attack, hardly the end of the world (even if it felt lie it at te time), and I'm guessing this isn't the first time an athlete with back problems has experienced it.
  22. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't minimize the significance of numbness of the foot (which was one of his major symtoms) for a skater. Can't feel the blade, where you are on it, where exactly on the blade it touches down on a jump landing - it's hardly a minor point. It's impossible to turn in a reasonable performance of high level elements in that state.

    Even for us occasional, low level skaters, that moment when your foot goes numb (too cold, lacing is too tight, etc.) gives us a hint - if you can't "feel" your blades and where exactly you are on them (which edge, exactly where on the length of the edge, etc.), it's hard to send them where you want them to go.

    The good news is that particular problem seems to be solved.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  23. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I'm not trying to minimize it, but to put it in a spectrum. I don't know why a skater would risk skating on a numb or numbed foot, but skaters do go out after getting shots that numb their foot, like Shen before 2003 Worlds. My only point is that it probably wasn't the first time he'd felt the symptom, and he'd lived through it before, and it didn't always mean a hospital bed.
  24. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Numbness and weakness of the leg and foot are very common symptoms in lumbar disc disease.
  25. professordeb

    professordeb Well-Known Member

    I wish him a speedy and full recovery. I would hope he puts his health and family above all else. However, given that the next winter Olympics are in his home country, I would not be surprised to see him on the ice and training once again.
  26. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    It sounds like this surgery is going to give him a much better quality of life than he's had for awhile. We'll have to see if he can skate at a high level once he recovers, but if hockey players can return to play, there's reason to believe he may be able to compete again. And, if he can train properly again, who knows what he could accomplish.
  27. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

    OT Are there pain medications that are on the forbidden list when competing?
  28. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I don't know if they are forbidden but why would anyone want to attempt a quad while under the influence of narcotic pain killers?
  29. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

  30. Eladola

    Eladola Active Member

    Not sure about that private room decor, But the hospital is a very nice building from the outside, And the corridors are also impressive,
    I can see it right now, As i work in the lobby of the building right next to it ^_^ ^_^ ,

    I went inside a few days ago trying to fish around, But sadly i have no follow through when it comes to stalking,
    I freak myself out too quickly ...
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.