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Legacy team changes lives-one rib at a time

In mid-September 2011, Leland Tash had only gotten about 400 yards from his driveway when he went around a blind corner and unexpectedly came across a utility truck. In an effort to avoid it, he swerved, lost control of his motorcycle, slid 124 feet and ran into the guardrail. The 48-year old-Corbett man woke up at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center three weeks later.

Trauma orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steve Madey says it was one of the worst cases of flail chest he's ever seen. Leland broke all 12 ribs on the right and left side, many of them in multiple places. While one broken rib can heal quickly, multiple rib fractures in form of a flail chest can compromise lung function and are associated with an increased mortality rate. Dr. Madey knew the best way to save Leland and minimize long term problems was with the Synthes MatrixRIB Fixation System.

Dr. Madey screwed seven plates into Leland's side and eight on his left side. The rib plating process involves surgically screwing in a metal plate on each end of the fractured rib to bridge the fracture site. The plate holds the rib fragments in place in order to promote healing in the proper alignment and reduce pain while breathing.

Dr. Madey, along with Dr. William Long, thoracic and trauma surgeon; Michael Bottlang, Ph.D., director of Legacy Biomechanics Laboratory; and Dr. Tony Melaragno, former vice president of Research, developed the system at Legacy Research Institute. The Matrix rib plating system is currently being used all over the world.

Leland was able to return to work full time five months after his accident and without any rib pain.

Click here to see the full KGW Northwest Newschannel 8 story.