For the first time ever, a groundbreaking procedure has been used to magnetically lengthen a nine-year-old cancer patient's leg.
The feat could rule out the possibility of up to 10 future surgeries for Morgan LaRue, as her body grows.
On March 29, 2010, 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, Dr. Rex Marco, an oncologic orthopedic surgeon at Texas Children's Hospital and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 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.
Morgan underwent her first outpatient procedure to magnetically extend her leg at Texas Children's Cancer Center.
By placing her leg into a magnetized "donut" in the outpatient clinic, doctors were able to extend the implanted prosthesis without having to do any surgery.
The magnet extender, manufactured by Stanmore Implants, 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. Her quality of life is so much higher than it would be if she were constantly undergoing surgery," said Marco.
"Morgan has already been through a lot of treatment for her cancer and this will prevent her from future uncomfortable surgeries," said Dr. Wang, Morgan's oncologist.