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Entries in Dr. William Seitz (1)

Tuesday
Dec142010

Surgeon Makes Fingers for Baby Born Without

Dr. William Seitz of Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CLEVELAND) -- When Laura Azzopardi gave birth to her son, Gavin, three years ago, she did what many new parents do, counting his fingers and toes. Gavin had five toes on each foot, but was born with just a pinky and thumb on each hand. It was a congenital hand deformity, a condition with unknown causes.

Laura and her husband, Keith, were uncertain Gavin would ever have functional hands, until they found an article in People magazine. The article, A New Hand for Ryan, introduced the family to the groundbreaking work of Dr. William Seitz, an orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, who was building fingers for another young boy.

At just nine months of age, Gavin began a series of treatments and surgeries at Cleveland Clinic aimed at building him two hands that would eventually help him in everyday life.

Creating two additional fingers per hand would require transferring bone for what was to be his middle and ring fingers and reshaping it into index and middle fingers. The new bones were attached to metal lengthening devices which helped them grow.

The process has been long and arduous, but Dr. Seitz said he sees results in his work. After two years of treatment, he said, Gavin's new fingers are "tubes of skin and bone. They've got muscle attachments to them and they've got some tendon attachments and they move."

Gavin has responded well to the treatment. "He's pretty darn functional right now. There's not much he can't do," Dr. Seitz said.

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