Several months ago, Oliver broke his left front leg, both bones, and right above his wrist. With both bones broken, a splint or cast was unlikely to give good results, so we felt he needed orthopedic surgery. The problem was, the lower fragments were so small, there wasn't much to grab onto. The other problem was that Oliver is tiny — he doesn't weigh four pounds.
Dr. Tomlinson at the University of Missouri put this external fixation apparatus on Oliver. What you cannot tell from this picture is just how delicate this surgery had to be. Those pins are just a little big larger diameter than the lead in a mechanical pencil. They are way smaller than a #2 pencil lead. The side bars (custom made of acrylic) are about the same diameter as a soda straw. Which means his bones are smaller than that, and not much stronger. This was an amazing piece of surgery.
Of course, that's just the first step, as important as it was. Then came several months of nursing care, weekly bandage changes and keeping this little firecracker from re-breaking the whole mess. Oliver's folks were the greatest and he finally got all the pins out last week. The bone is still fragile, but has healed together well. You can see the holes in the bone where the pins were going through it. That one little pin will stay in.
This would never have healed without Dr. Tomlinson's skill, but it also would never have healed without the owner's commitment to his post-operative care. It was no small task to care for this guy over the ensuing months. Dr. Tomlinson was the carpenter, but they were the gardeners. It takes gardening to get things to heal.
Look at these things. If you look closely, you'll see that the scrub-top cookie even has KVC "embroidered" on the pocket.