Entries in Legs (3)


Twin Girls from Gaza Get Chance to Walk Thanks to Prosthetics

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- For many parents, seeing their child walk for the first time is a memorable experience, but for Itaf Shallouf, seeing her daughters’ first steps seemed like a miracle. Her twin girls were born without functional legs.

Shallouf’s daughters, who are 2, suffered from a type of congenital deficiency that left them without the tibia bone in their lower legs, leaving them unable to walk. Without treatment it was likely that Lamise Shallouf and her sister Rimas would have spent much of their lives in wheelchairs.

But the toddlers are now taking their first steps, thanks in part to the help of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, which works to bring children from the Middle East to the U.S. for medical treatment.


The girls arrived with their mother in November and have undergone a series of surgeries and prosthetic fittings at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Los Angeles.

Lamise had to have both of her lower legs removed, while Rimas only had one leg removed. But only a few months after their surgery both girls are already on the move, thanks to pint-size prosthetics. Lamise wears short prosthetics called “stubbies” that have treads on the bottom that work like built-in sneakers. Rimas was given a straight leg prosthesis and in a few years will be given a knee unit that will allow her to bend her leg.

“It was difficult, but thank God. God somehow helps us to pull through,” Shallouf told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV.

Lulu Emery, who works for the Southern California chapter of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, has been with the girls as they have endured numerous doctor visits over the last few months and is amazed at how well they have reacted to treatment.

“They’ve adjusted so much,” said Emery. “Now they flirt with the staff in the hospital and everyone loves them.”

The girls will go back with their mother to live in Gaza, but next year they are expected to temporarily return to the U.S. for follow-up treatments.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New York Man 'Grows' Six Inches Through Surgery

Courtesy Apotheosis(NEW YORK) -- At 5 feet, 6 inches, Apotheosis was shorter than the average American male and very unhappy about it.  So he did something other men who feel short might consider unthinkable: he opted for costly, painful surgeries to make himself "grow" a total of six inches.

"I realized that the world looked at me a certain way, that I didn't look at myself in that certain way," said the 37-year-old New Yorker, who goes by the pseudonym "Apotheosis" in online forums and asked that 20/20 not use his real name.  "I wanted the way I felt about myself and the way the world felt about me to be similar."

Apotheosis is one of a "growing" number of men pursuing limb-lengthening procedures for cosmetic reasons.

Dr. Dror Paley, a renowned osteopathic surgeon at the Paley Institute at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., performed 650 leg-lengthening surgeries last year.

Most of Paley's patients have severe deformities or dwarfism, but he also sees cosmetic patients.

"The majority who come for cosmetic limb lengthening have what we call, height dysphoria.  They're unhappy with their height," said Paley, adding that therapy has little effect on changing a patient's views.  "It's one of the few psychologic-psychiatric disorders that you can actually cure with the knife."

That is precisely the reason why Akash Shukla, 25, decided to undergo the procedure.  At age 18, the New Jersey man was devastated to find out that his final height would be 4'11½".

"I felt like my short stature was kind of causing a void inside me -- an emptiness in my heart, if you will," he said.

And not everyone was encouraging.

"There are people that have said, 'just accept what God gave you.'  But, in some way, shape or form everybody is trying to alter what God gave them.  If God gave kids crooked teeth, they get braces," said Shukla, who is now almost 5'2" thanks to the surgery.

But limb lengthening is certainly not like straightening teeth. Only a few doctors, including Paley, perform the procedure in the United States.

Surgeons break the leg bone in two and implant a state-of-the-art telescopic rod into the middle of the broken bones which then pulls the bone apart very slowly, about one millimeter a day.  New bone grows around it and tissues like the muscle, the nerves, the arteries, and the skin, regenerate as well.

At about $85,000, the procedure is expensive and the process lengthy.  It takes at least three months to complete it and it requires demanding and excruciating physical therapy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Double Leg Transplant Performed in Spain

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(VALENCIA, Spain) -- In what could turn out to be a major breakthrough for limb amputees, Spanish surgeons have performed the first double-leg transplant on a man who had lost both legs above the knees in an accident.

According to Dr. Pedro Cavadas of La Fe Hospital in Valencia, doctors will find out before long if the legs are rejected.  Otherwise, it will take a month until they know if the transplant was successful.

Cavadas said that after a suitable cadaver donor was found, his team performed the surgery last Sunday on the unidentified patient.  It took 14 hours to connect bones, nerves and tissues.

Prior to the decision to perform a double leg transplant, doctors tried fitting the patient with artificial legs but the procedure didn't take because the man didn't have enough of his own limbs to accommodate the prostheses.

Cavadas has had experience with delicate transplants before, having performed Spain's first face transplant, which included the first new tongue and jaw given to any patient in the world.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio