Friday, January 21, 2011

Complex Wrist Surgery Saves Career of Professional Flutist

Oak Park Musician Back to Performing with Chicago Philharmonic; Next Performance Feb. 6

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- After she fell off some dark steps and suffered a complex wrist fracture, Donna Milanovich was terrified it would hinder her ability to play the flute. Milanovich is a flutist for and executive director of the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, and has performed as a freelance player for the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Orchestra. Milanovich's radius (forearm bone) broke into four pieces, and the fracture extended into the wrist joint. If the bone did not heal properly, Milanovich could end up with a stiff joint and limited motion. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Randy Bindra of Loyola University Health System performed a delicate surgery to repair the fracture. He meticulously aligned the bones, using an arthroscopic camera to get a better view. Bindra then secured the bone fragments with a stainless steel plate and 10 screws. "It's technically a very precise procedure," Bindra said. "All the fragments must be aligned correctly, and the screws must be the exact right length." The surgery was a success. Bindra gives much of the credit to Milanovich, who worked hard through the pain while rehabbing from her injury. Milanovich resumed practicing the flute in just three weeks. And six weeks after her surgery, she did her first post-injury performance with the Philharmonic Orchestra -- Rachmaninov's Second Symphony. Her next performance with the Chicago Philharmonic is Feb. 6. In addition to performing, Milanovich gives flute lessons and teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "I have breathed, eaten and lived the flute since I was 12," she said. Not playing, even for just a few weeks, was frustrating. "Playing the flute is what I like to do the most." Milanovich fractured her wrist while trying to break her fall from some backyard steps. Her injury is called a distal radius fracture. (Distal refers to the wrist end of the bone.) The injury also is known as a Colles fracture, after Irish surgeon Abraham Colles, who first described it in 1814. The distal radius is the most commonly broken bone in the arm. A fracture typically occurs when a person breaks a fall, or has an accident involving a car, bike, snow skis, etc. Many distal radius fractures are simple and require only a cast. Milanovich's fracture was doubly complex because it was "comminuted" (broken into more than two pieces) and "intra-articular" (extended into the wrist joint.)

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.