Doctors lengthen 9-year-old girl's leg magnetically

Doctors lengthen 9-year-old girl's leg magnetically

The implant and extension took place at Texas Children’s Cancer Centre (T3C) in Houston, Texas.

On March 29, Morgan lost a portion of the bone in her upper leg to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and was facing the potential of numerous surgeries in order to keep her left leg even with her right, as she grows into adulthood.

In her initial surgery two weeks ago, Rex Marco, oncologic orthopedic surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital, implanted a prosthetic device that saved Morgan from a lower limb amputation and allowed her cancerous bone to be replaced with a metal implant.

The device, a Stanmore Implants Extendable Distal Femoral Replacement, can be extended as Morgan grows, saving her from ongoing invasive procedures. This week at T3C, Morgan underwent her first outpatient procedure to magnetically extend her leg. By placing her leg into a magnetised “donut” in the outpatient clinic, doctorscould extend the implanted prosthesis without surgery.

The magnet extender  is a reversible extender that is the first and only device of its kind to be used in Texas.

“The difference this device makes for Morgan is incredible,” said Marco. “Her quality of life is so much higher than it would be if she were constantly undergoing surgery.”  

While the device has been approved and is regularly being used in Europe, it is still pending US Food and Drug Administration approval and has only been used for approximately 15 patients in this country. Lisa L Wang, paediatric oncologist at T3C and assistant professor of paediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, and  Marco, advocated for and received a “compassionate use” exception for the young girl, in order to implant the groundbreaking device.

“Morgan has already been through a lot of treatment for her cancer,” said Wang, “and this will prevent her from future uncomfortable surgeries.”

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