Pieter-Steph du Toit has revealed a plastic surgeon was needed to help close the wound that threatened to cost the Springbok World Cup winner his leg after he sustained a freak injury in a Super Rugby match last month.
The 27-year-old’s leg was saved by the skill of the surgeons who operated on him in South Africa and the 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year told Afrikaans newspaper Rapport that he quickly realised the severity of the injury.
Du Toit was examined by a vascular surgeon who was acutely aware of the potential problems of the injury. Du Toit said: “When I got to the hospital, I experienced an incredible amount of pain. I couldn’t bear the pain. They put me on very strong medication, but it did not take away the pain. I just wanted someone to do something for me to take it away.
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“During the operation, he tested some of the muscles’ nerves. By then it appeared to be too late for him because some of the muscles did not respond to the tests. Then he saw me again on the Monday and tried to close the wound again, but he was unsuccessful. He told me later that he just wanted to see if the muscle would get better. Fortunately, it did.
“They were not sure if they would be able to close the wound… when they saw it, they told each other they were not going to be able to do it. Only when they started working did they see it was going to be possible. And they closed it.”
Du Toit was operated on the evening of the Stormers match with the Bulls, with a vascular surgeon at Vincent Pallotti Hospital cutting through the muscle to release the pressure.
Jason Suter, the Stormers doctor, described the injury in more detail last week and made it clear the back row forward came close to losing his leg. Suter said: “He had a haematoma that developed into an acute compartment syndrome. It’s incredibly rare – there have been only 43 (cases) listed in the literature (worldwide).”
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