Innovative Medical Technique Saves Limbs
NEW YORK, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ — An innovative surgical technique called Bone Transport is being used to save limbs. Dr. Austin Fragomen, Fellowship Director for the Institute of Limb Lengthening and reconstruction surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery, uses an evolution of techniques originally developed in Russia. Only a handful of surgeons in the world use the procedure routinely.
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Dr. Fragomen chose Bone Transport and Limb Lengthening surgery to save the leg of Bobby Scott, a young Canadian seaman who was working on a supply ship in the Caribbean, when a cable broke and ripped across his legs. The impact left a four-inch piece of his leg bone lying on the deck and amputation looked inevitable. However, the patient’s employer had him medivacked to the Hospital for Special Surgery where Dr. Fragomen recommended the procedure.
According to Dr. Fragomen, “The basic way it works is the bone is cracked surgically and then the leg is put into an external fixation device and the bone is separated one millimeter a day until the desired length is achieved. Typically it’s used for people who have one leg shorter than the other or people who have bone defects like our patient Mr. Scott.”
External fixation has evolved with technology, and the External Fixator the doctor used allowed Bobby to walk, chop wood, and even ride his ATV during treatment. Dr. Fragomen specializes in adapting these devices for use in conditions as common as joint arthritis and as complex as Bobby Scott’s bone transport. And the goal always remains the same — to minimize the trauma of surgery and maximize a rapid and functional recovery.
He says, “Innovations at our institute are really being geared to increasing the rate of bone healing and also decreasing the time that people need to wear the External Fixator. Simple things like adding vitamin D to the patient’s regimen may help their bones heal faster or putting them on an osteoporosis medicine may actually make their injury heal faster.”
Dr. Fragomen believes that current innovations in the field are forerunners of a future where medicine and genetics will be used increasingly to heal injuries swiftly and re-grow cartilage. These innovations are likely to be especially important in cases of joint arthritis, which affects some 46 million Americans.
For more information visit http://www.hss.edu/physicians_fragomen-austin.asp or contact Dr. Austin Fragomen at 212-606-1550.
SOURCE Dr. Austin Fragomen