Friday, March 19, 2010
Medical Reports: Lengthening Legs
Kids born with leg deformities often face amputation, but one doctor is working to give these children more choices, including a treatment that allows them to keep their legs. 7's Christine Cruz has details in Healthcast.
WSVN -- Kelly Lockett doesn't miss a step when she goes shopping, even though the 13-year-old lived with just one leg her entire life.
Kelly was born with the bone behind her shin missing.
Doctors told her mom amputation was the best option.
Carolyn Lockett: "We were told she would have psychological scars from all the surgeries and, therefore, we should amputate."
West Palm Beach Doctor Dror Paley has spent his career trying to fix limb deformities and injuries without amputation.
Dr. Dror Paley of the Paley Advanced Limb Lengthening Institute: "Although it's more surgery, you end up with your own leg."
In Kelly's case, he implanted a device designed to slowly lengthen the bone one millimeter a day.
Dr. Paley: "What's happening in the lengthening is every single day, you're pulling the bone apart. The bone is a living substance. It makes new bone to fill in where you break it. You're pulling it apart, and it makes new bone to fill that gap."
It can be a painful process, which can lead to nerve damage and infection. But for Kelly, it was worth the risk.
Kelly Lockett: "During the lengthening, it was painful. I've never thought I don't wanna do this."
Kelly's leg is now 10 inches longer than it would have been without the surgeries.
Twenty-three-year-old Julie Nichols is hoping for similar results.
Julie Nichols: "The knee incision will be here. The hip incision will be there."
She's in for three surgeries and almost a year of therapy but says her goal will keep her going.
Julie Nichols: "Running. I want to run so bad. After these surgeries, my goal is to run a marathon."
Enduring the pain with the future in sight.
Christine Cruz: "Dr. Paley is one of three surgeons in the US who perform the more complicated surgeries like Kelly's."
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Paley Advanced Limb Lengthening Institute
Caroline Eaton, Program Coordinator