ASR 11:52pm Sep 9 2018
Hi Robert, asking "how long it takes" is like asking "how long is a piece of string". There is no single correct answer.
While my tibia healed in a reasonable time frame, my fibula did not. Apparently, the hardware did all the work, so the bone wasn't compelled to heal. My OS even had me carrying buckets of water to add stress to my leg.(I have horses, so this was an easy thing to add to my day) It didn't work.
One year after the hardware was installed, my OS began removing it in stages. With less metal to carry the weight, the bone was forced to get busy. This worked!
I had 5 screws removed in the first procedure, and a plate & 2 screws removed in a second procedure. I had both procedures done under local anesthesia, and was able to walk out on both legs, and drive myself home afterward.
There doesn't seem to be a time limit for the bones to begin mending, but sometimes they need a reason to start. Adding stress to the bone by removing screw(s) is a very common method of encouraging bone growth. You might see if your surgeon would be willing to do it under just a local anesthetic. The worst part if it for me was getting the numbing shot.
Fully recovered from Pilon tib/fib
2 Plates, 10 screws, 2 HWR's,
1 Plate & 3 Screws left