Three-year Old Boy Walks after Successful SurgeryThree-year-old Fadi Nemah was born with his tibia (shinbone) bent at a nearly 90-
degree angle due to a cyst, making walking nearly impossible. Last year, he traveled to America from Iraq with his parents as they sought care at the Children's Medical Center.
Today, Fadi is able to walk and run with his friends thanks to Errol Mortimer, MD, a specialist in pediatric orthopedic surgery, and his pediatric team.
"Fadi's parents came to our clinic for help," said Dr. Mortimer. "At first I was concerned that any attempt to correct his leg might backfire as some kids with his condition can lose their leg. However, the procedure I used was a different technique so the risks were much lower and the benefits were much greater."
Dr. Mortimer's team operated on Fadi's leg in March 2010. "We cleaned the cyst and placed a bone graft in it to allow it to heal. We also corrected the angle of the bone," he said. The team attached a device called an external fixator that gradually straightens the bone.
Dr. Mortimer is an expert in correcting bone deformities. Although he has seen similar cases, he noted that Fadi's condition was quite serious and rare. The fixator has been used in developed countries for decades, but physicians in Fadi's native Iraq and in Jordan, where his family initially sought treatment for him, were unable to help the boy.
Today, Fadi's bone is straight, the fixator is off, and he is going to physical therapy to strengthen his muscles and learn to walk. According to his mother, "I brought Fadi here so he would be able to live his life like other children."