New technology helps grow bone


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 22 at 7:29 AM

Jason Carroll is getting back into his swing. When he was 11 a football injury shattered the growth plate in his right leg.

"And I heard it break, and then I just remember getting pulled into the ambulance, Carroll recalled.

"As time went on he had more and more pain in the knee," said Jason's mother Debbie Carroll.

The damage to his growth plate led to his right leg being an inch and a half shorter than his left.

"People would ask why're you limping and stuff like that," Jason said.

That's where new technology comes in. It's called PRECISE, a limb lengthening system that uses remote control. Dr. Shawn Standard, Head of Pediatric Orthopedics, International Center for Limb Lengthening, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore helped to develop it. He explained the advantage.

"It's designed to be a lot smaller, can fit into more patients, with different sizes of bones," said Dr. Standard.

A telescopic titanium rod is placed inside the patient's bone. Then a remote control magnetic generator is put over the skin for a few minutes several times a day.
"And as you turn on the magnet driver, the rod will actually pull apart and lengthen the bone," said Dr. Standard.

Patients can expect to grow an average of a millimeter a day, with little pain. After a bone is lengthened using the system, doctors remove the titanium rod. A bone must be long enough and wide enough to fit the device. So not all kids are candidates for the procedure. But it worked for Jason.  

"It was a lot easier than I expected, like no pain with it," said Jason Carroll.

In under 60 days Jason went from two legs of different lengths to matched legs. How does he like the results?

"It makes a big difference," Carroll said.

Now he's back in the game, standing tall on both feet.