Double ASBK Supersport Champion, Tom Toparis will be heading into hospital on Wednesday (March 3), to undergo major upper-arm surgery to correct a growth arrest in his right humerus bone. It is radical procedure where a magnetic rod is inserted into the arm and an electronic device applied externally to stimulate the bone to grow.
Such a dramatic procedure is not a simple decision to make, but with the Covid crisis restricting international travel, Tom could not take up the offers to return to the BSB Supersport class this year.
His Plan ‘B’ was to race in Australia and graduate to the ASBK premier category, but Tom and his family decided that while he is still young, the best course of action is to have the operation this year and as such he will more than likely be out for the entire season.
The injury dates back to when Tom was 11 and had a motocross crash and broke his upper humerus bone and shoulder.
Initially, the procedure to repair the arm was a success but it wasn’t until Tom started his growth spurt as a teenager, when at 15 years of age it was discovered that his right arm was 40 mm shorter than his left. That was over five years ago Since then the difference in the lengths of his arms has increased to 76 mm, causing increased discomfort when riding as he altered his riding posture to suit. In recent times that has been alleviated, somewhat, by altering the height of his handlebars.
Tom will enter Macquarie University Hosptial in Sydney on Wednesday.
“I will be in there for a week and the total lengthening procedure takes around ten weeks so I don’t think I will be riding this year. From what we have been told the two orthopaedic surgeons who will be operating on me are the best in the world at this procedure.
“I have the rod inside my arm and something that looks like at iPhone on the outside that does its magic. Even though the difference between my arms is 76 mm, at this stage I will only grow back 50 mm. The maximum growth that can be achieved with the lengthening of the bone, nerves and tendons is about a millimetre a day, so it should be all done in 50 to 55 days, but if it takes 20 or 30 days longer, to get to the length we are all happy with, then so be it.
“When working with mechanic Glen Richards, he started playing around with different height handlebars as I was getting a sore back compensating for the different length of my arms.
“With all the corona restrictions still going on, and the hassle of international travel and hotel quarantine, – I had enough of that last year – now is the best time to get it done.
“As much as I would like to, I don’t think I will be racing this year as the doctors have recommended that I stay off the bike for the year, but we’ll see how much progress we can make during the year.”
Here at MCNews.com.au we wish Tom a successful and speedy recovery and don’t rush back too soon like some Spaniard did six months ago!
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