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Old 09-22-2003, 11:23 AM
pepperlandgirl pepperlandgirl is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Utah
Posts: 9,440
Let's say you got shot in the thigh and the bullet shattered your femur.

How long would it take to heal? How would it heal? Would they have to put a steel rod in the in the leg? How long would you be in physical therapy? Would you be stuck in a wheelchair, or would yo ube able to get around on crutches at some point? I don't need an exact time frame, but a general one at least would be helpful.
Old 09-22-2003, 11:58 AM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: I am Queens Boulevard
Posts: 14,142
Well, a friend of mine shattered her femur in 7 places (her 1300 pound horse landed on her when she fell off while it was jumping). They put it back together with steel rods and pins. I believe she was laid up flat out for 6 weeks recovering from the surgery, in that time she was only supposed to move minimally. Now, about 2-3 months later she is getting around with crutches. I don't know the extent of her PT schedule.

Since she is eager to return to sport I am sure she is doing her excercises and anything else that speeds healing. She was very fit and healthy before the accident, and she antipates a full return to mobility, eventually. And a life of setting off airport metal detectors.
Old 09-22-2003, 12:09 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia
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I am not familiar with horse-caused injuries.

In combat a hit like that could very well be fatal. A bullet wound is (I think) messier than a horse wound. Lots of high-velocity bullet and bone fragments all looking for large blood vessels and nerves to wreck.

I (untrained as I am) would go for a tourniquet, treat for shock and pray for the helicopter.
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Old 09-22-2003, 12:19 PM
badmana badmana is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,524
My GF is an assistant physiotherapist. I asked her almost exactly the same question once. She said it would really depend on the age and general health of the person. After surgery (assuming of course the person survives) the PT would take quite a long time. If you're young and fit, full or near full recovery is possible. She has patients that are very old (60-85) who have shattered bones and they don't recover. Some of her patients have been patients for years for pain.

I would assume (because IANAD) that shattering a major bone like your femur would actually be almost fatal for most people. The bullet would sever several large arteries and unless you're literally inside a hospital you probably wouldn't live 5 minutes with the amount of blood you would lose.

One of my friend's when I was a kid shattered both legs below the knee in a car accident. After 2 years of help, he's walking normally with a slight limp (and some gastly scars from the pins in his bones).
Old 09-22-2003, 01:41 PM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,703
Cool! a question I can answer.

First person account follows...

Shattered my femur in a motorcycle accident. Also snapped my tibia in 3 places, broke my pelvic bone in 2 and broke some meta-carpals. Oh, and ruined a damn fine jacket

This was in June of 1987. I was told that the amount of internal bleeding I had would have meant death if the ambulance had been 2 minutes late. The pain was undescribable (so I won't try to describe it).

The surgery took 18 hours. Steel rod with assorted pins and rings elsewhere. The rod stays in for the rest of my life. The hospital stay was about 5 weeks. 3 weeks or so in traction. Lots of physical therapy. Kept the leg on an automatic machine to bend and straighten it slowly for me so the joint woul;d not freeze. had to learn to sit up again, how to stand and walk. All the muscles were wet spaghetti and had to be strengthened all over again. When I could use crutches I went home.

More physical therapy, excruciating pain to bend and straighten the knee, to break up the scar tissue.

Was in a wheel chair for 3 weeks.

Walked with crutches for a month, then used a cane for about
a year.

I set off metal detectors and store security dectors all the time.

MRI's are a fun because the steel soaks up the energy of the scan. The doctors say "If you start to feel a burning sensation tell us and we'll stop"

I have to pre-medicate with massive doses of pennicillan before even a tooth-cleaning at the dentist because of the risk of infection.

I always win the "show your scar" game.
Old 09-22-2003, 05:14 PM
JerseyDiamond JerseyDiamond is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: far away from home
Posts: 760
When my husband was in physical therapy for an injury, he met a guy who had a hunting accident and was shot through the humerus (upper arm) with a .30-30 rifle. The damage was so extensive that the doctors just ended up closing up the gap without replacing the fragments - they just cleaned it up and fused the shattered ends. He ended up with an arm 3 inches shorter than the other one.

It depends on how severe the injuries are, but I imagine it could easily be worse with a bullet to the femur, since it has to support your weight.
Old 09-22-2003, 08:07 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 25,205
Shattering your femur can result in death if you lose too much blood. (You will lose a lot of blood)

At the very least, you'll have a long visit to the OR and lots of hardware in your re-assembled thigh.

Alternatively, if the leg is too torn up they might have to amputate either to save your life, deal with life-threatening infection, or simply because they can't reconstruct enough blood supply and the flesh and bone below the wound starves/suffocates and dies.

In some cases, a hopelessly shattered bone can be replaced by a metal rod - but if not succesful will result in amputation.

Or, if you're very lucky, you will heal with just a lot of hardware in your leg and scars on the outside and have a leg to stand on.

A lot depends on the gun/ammo combination, how it hits, the distances involved, what sort of medical care is available...
Old 04-17-2012, 09:11 AM
Jeff_03 Jeff_03 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1
I found this thread because I was looking for the answer as well.
1 month ago I was shot in the left leg right above the knee by a 357 magnum revolver. It shattered my femur above the knee and split the bone from my knee to my hip.
I was in traction in the hospital for 1 1/2 weeks then recieved a titanium rod and screws in my leg and surgeons left the bullet and bullet fragments in my leg because of where they are it's risky to try to take them out.
It has been 2 1/2 weeks since leaving the hospital with a walker. At Pt last week I advanced to crutches. It hurts like crazy but it is healing well I heard, I am 40 and healthy.
I'm not sure how long it will take my leg to heal and I still can't walk or bend my knee more than 8 or 10 degrees yet.
Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 11,672
If you actually die from the injury, you will come back as a zombie.
Old 04-17-2012, 02:46 PM
cynyc cynyc is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Manhattan not by choice!
Posts: 421
I'll ask the guy upstairs. He broke his femur twice. They did bone grafts.


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