Medical Minute 3-1: Lengthening Legs by 10 Inches

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

Kelly Lockett doesn't miss a step when browsing for her next purchase even though this 13 year old has depended on one leg her entire life. Kelly was born with the bone behind her shin missing. The condition deformed her foot and shortened her leg. Doctors told her mom that amputation was the best option.

"We were told she would have psychological scars from all the surgeries and therefore we should amputate," said Carolyn Lockett.

Doctor Dror Paley has been working for 23 years to correct limb deformities and injuries without amputation.

"Although it's more surgery, you end up with your own leg," said Dror Paley, M.D., F.R.C.S.C., Director, Paley Advanced Limb Lengthening Institute.

He broke her shin bone and implanted a metal fixator, which is worn for eight months and is designed to lengthen the bone one millimeter a day.

"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," said Dr. Paley.

Patients have to consider risks like pain, nerve damage, bone infection and failure of bone healing.

"During the lengthening it was painful. I've never thought I don't wanna do this," said Kelly Lockett Limb.

Kelly's leg is now 10 inches longer than it would have been without the surgeries.Twenty-three-year-old Julie Nichols hopes for similar results. She's in for three surgeries and almost a year of therapy .. but says her goal will keep her going.

"I want to run so bad. After these surgeries, my goal is to run a marathon," said Julie Nichols.

For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789 Melissa Medalie, Supervising Producer Medical Newsmmedalie@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1516Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579

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