Saving Little Legs

September 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Twenty-five-hundred people will face bone cancer this year -- most of whom are kids. The traditional treatment is amputation of a leg or arm. But now, a new surgery is saving legs and giving kids a second chance to run and play. Not much slows Isaac Escobedo down ... not even cancer!

"A day after the surgery, he was walking," Isaac's dad told Ivanhoe.

"He's always got this great smile on his face," Mark Barry, M.D., a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Sunrise Children's Hospital in Las Vegas, Nev., told Ivanhoe.

A five-year-old fighter who was diagnosed with a tumor in his knee. Before, his leg would be amputated near his thigh. Now, a new procedure called Rotationplasty will save more of Isaac's leg.

"The whole principle being to remove the tumor from his leg, leave no tumor cells behind and then rebuild his leg as best possible to give him the best long term function," Dr. Barry said.

Dr. Barry amputated Isaac's leg just above the knee ? removing the tumor, but keeping the nerves and arteries intact. He rotated the ankle 180-degrees and reattached it.

"Essentially, the ankle joint now becomes the new knee joint and the foot acts as a lever to power his artificial leg," Dr. Barry said.

And believe it or not, he can still feel his toes! They're ticklish, just like every other kids'.

This new procedure will give Isaac more flexibility and more use of his leg.

"He can run, he can play, jump, just like normal kids," Dr. Barry said.

So far, there's no sign of any more tumors. Isaac is cancer free and making a speedy recovery.

Rotationplasty is mostly used for kids with bone cancer, bone tumors and birth defects.

Ashlee Seymour
Director of Media Relations
Sunrise Children's Hospital
(702) 731-8288


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