Tomorrow the doctors will do a skin graft for Matthew’s arm, taking skin from his upper thigh. The skin graft will be covered with a new wound VAC and they will check it after five days to see if the graft is taking. Assuming the skin graft is successful, it should take about two weeks to heal.
Please pray that the skin graft surgery will go well, that the swelling in his arm will continue to go down (it has made great progress, PTL!), and that the chyle leak near his collar bone will heal.
Please also pray that over these next days and weeks his scapula, rib and neck will heal and that full nerve function in his other (right) arm will return.
After his body has healed up a bit in these areas, the doctors plan to take new MRI scans and also use nerve conduction studies and electromyography to assess the status of the nerves and muscles on his damaged side. From there they will make decisions on how to proceed with nerve transfers.
It is too dangerous to do the exploratory surgery at the current time due to the condition of his shoulder and chest as this could compromise his vascular or lymphatic systems and is not worth the potential risks.
They cannot tell for certain, but it appears that the nerves to his shoulder and arm were avulsed (ripped apart by blunt force) close to his spinal column in which case there would be little or no chance of regaining the use of his left arm and hand. If that proves to be the case, the more promising route would be to take donor nerves from another area of his body (perhaps from the back or ribs) to transfer them in such a way that it might be possible for him to regain the ability to lift his shoulder or potentially flex his bicep. In may be preferable for him to also have some soft of brace (orthosis) or prosthesis to allow some function of that arm. There is very small likelihood that he would have any wrist or hand function. Thankfully, other than his finger tips, no amputation would be necessary.
Please continue to pray for us and especially for Matthew as all this heavy news hits home. And pray for a safe and successful skin graft tomorrow.