MMA fighter Chris Weidman was hospitalized on Saturday night after his fight against Uriah Hall at UFC 261 led to him sustaining an open fracture of tibia and fibula in the right leg. “Open fracture” means that the bone pierced through the skin of the leg after breaking, otherwise known as a compound fracture; this can increase the patient’s risk of infection in the aftermath of the injury.
“I don’t even know if it was the bone that tore through the skin, as much as it could have just been the sheer contact on Uriah Hall’s leg,” says physical medical expert Dr. Brian Sutterer, who has been following Weidman’s injury on his YouTube channel.
Sutterer points out that while the pre-operative scans don’t reveal a great deal about the angle of the break, the post-op X-rays shine more light on the injury: specifically, the “butterfly fragments” that appear to have broken away from both the tibia and fibula as a result of both the impact and the subsequent compression which would have been placed on that narrow area of Weidman’s leg as it continued to bend around Uriah Hall’s knee, in addition to the axial pressure from Weidman then stepping back and placing his weight on the leg.
Doctors inserted an intermedullary rod into Weidman’s tibia, and Sutterer explains that once the tibia was stabilized, it was less necessary to do the same to the fibula, as it is not considered a weight-bearing bone.
“Now that we know this was in fact an open fracture, we have to worry about infection risks in the short-term period,” Sutterer continues. “But then everything else long-term is more about the soft tissues, not necessarily the bone. The X-rays don’t show us the muscles, or the ligaments or the tendons, it only shows us the bone. And it’s fairly common to have other associated soft tissue injuries with the ligaments or other soft tissues whenever we see an injury like this. So as Weidman goes through his rehab, those are going to be the bigger things to keep an eye on here.”
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