Custom prosthetics for kids are changing lives at Seattle Children's

Rather than facing multiple surgeries, amputation is the reality some parents face due to birth deformities and accidents.

It's been said that dance is the hidden language of the soul, and Taylor Haines pours her soul into dancing.

Like many young dancers, she dreams of taking center stage. But Taylor isn't like other dancers.

Taylor's right foot is a prosthetic.

“I’ve been dancing my whole life since I was little. Someone took me to a show, and the dancers just amazed me. They were telling stories with their bodies, without words and that was really interesting to me, and I wanted to do it,” explains Taylor.

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“Taylor was born with a deformity of her limb called fibular hemimelia. There are two bones in your shin, there's a smaller one, and a larger one. The smaller one didn't grow completely, and her foot was not fully formed,” explains Peter Yukawa, a Clinical Prosthetist-Orthotist at Seattle Children’s.

Yukawa has been working with Taylor since she was a child.

“Usually I would see her back every year to year-and-a-half, to either make adjustments or make a new prosthesis for her,” says Yukawa.

The team at the Seattle Children’s lab create prosthetic limbs and braces making movement possible for children like Taylor every day.

Each prosthetic is unique, from choosing fun designs and patterns to custom mechanical adjustments meeting each patient's need.

“Taylor's has a button at the ankle so she can change the position of her foot so it can be pointed or flexed up either for dancing or if she's wearing different heel height of shoes she can accommodate for that,” says Yukawa.

Thanks to evolving technology and light-weight materials like carbon fiber there are almost no limitations to what these kids can do with their prosthesis.

And kids like Taylor continue to impress, dancing her way to success and inspiration.

"I've seen her grow both in height and weight, but she's also grown-up from this spunky little kid who likes to run up and down the hallways to this beautiful dancer, who has embraced her difference and is celebrating it," said Yukawa.

And with changing technology the prosthetics lab at Seattle Children's is set to get an upgrade.

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They will soon be installing a kind of 3D printer that will speed up the process of making a prosthesis, exciting stuff moving forward.