Caroline Buchanan gets triple-strength plate in chest after setback

Caroline Buchanan gets triple-strength plate in chest after setback

Caroline Buchanan is facing another extended stint off her bike after surgery discovered her sternum was still fractured almost 12 months since her initial accident.

The two-time Olympian now has a "triple-strength plate" in her chest, but could be out of action for up to four months as she waits for the bone to heal.

It's another major setback for Buchanan, who had hoped to relaunch her career and start her preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

But the remarkably upbeat BMX star and multiple world champion will instead return to her home after a bone graft to finally help her move on from a horror crash on New Year's Eve.

Buchanan was in Canberra last month when AIS medical staff told her she had somehow snapped the plate in her chest which was supposed to be holding her sternum together.

She was booked for her seventh operation of the year to assess the damage and said she had been "thrown another curveball".

"My surgeon yesterday went in through the same scare, took the broken plate out and unfortunately underneath my sternum was still partly broken where the plate was broken and the bolts were popping and backing out," Buchanan said.

"He had to [re-break] the remaining healed area to clean the bone back and then put in a triple-strength plate/rods/screws and reinforced it with matrix bone paste as a bone graft to make the area super strong again.

"Then he stitched me back up and I will have a drain in for a few days while I recover at home. The surgeon was shocked he had to go to that extent to fix it again.

"But he gave me a positive reminder: "the most important thing is [you're] alive and it all could have been a lot worse."

Buchanan missed most of this year after an accident on a private property in December last year which left her with a broken nose, broken sternum, collapsed lungs and bleeding around her heart.

Her injuries were so severe doctors said she was lucky to survive. She was unable to lift a plate, let alone train, for most of the year.

But she slowly returned to BMX action and then tested herself in a freestyle World Cup event in October, where she broke her finger.

The 28-year-old will still have time to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and is determined to compete at the Games for a third time.

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