New York, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – A congenital condition could mean a leg amputation for some kids, but a series of surgeries helped this nine-year-old get up on her feet.
Fibular hemimelia is a rare condition that causes babies to be born without a bone, called the fibula, in one or both of their lower legs. As they grow, kids may not only have limbs that are different lengths, but they may also struggle with foot and knee deformities. A New York orthopedic team is using a series of surgeries, including a procedure called the SUPERknee, that creates stability so kids can be kids.
Leila Ricks loves to dance, hip-hop, and TikToks!
She’s come a long way in the past year. Leila was born without a fibula bone in her leg so, they were two different lengths, and her foot was out of place.
Leila tells Ivanhoe, “I couldn’t keep my legs straight or flat because if I did, my ankle would be all the way down here, my hip would be all the way down here, and I would be like a fashion model.”
For some kids with this rare disorder, amputation is sometimes the option. Instead, pediatric orthopedic surgeons mapped out a series of surgeries for Leila. They started with a leg-lengthening procedure, breaking the tibia bone in her right leg, and attaching a frame to carefully stretch it.
“My husband and I would have to turn it according to the prescription that they gave us. We would have to turn the rods and the rods would push the bone farther apart,” Leila’s mom, Keri Ricks, mentions.
This active little girl was confined to a wheelchair and then a walker for eight months as she recovered.
Leila was also missing two knee ligaments, her ACL and PCL, so after leg-lengthening, doctors performed what they called a SUPERknee surgery.
“We used her own soft tissue on the outer side of the leg and rerouted it through the knee in order to reconstruct both of those ligaments,” a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Mount Sinai, Sheena Ranade, MD, explains.
Right now, Leila’s happy to be getting around, and playing with her puppy, Macy.
“Now, I’m confident because my doctor said I can do stuff now,” Leila exclaims.
Doctors say it’s likely that Leila may have more surgery in the future. In addition to another limb lengthening surgery, doctors may also perform what they call a SUPERankle procedure, which would help them stabilize her ankle, which is not as sturdy as a normal ankle since she is missing her fibula.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.