A tale of two plasties
February 4, 2018 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Rotationplasty is an autograft wherein a portion of a limb is removed, while the remaining limb below the involved portion is rotated and reattached.

Gabi Shull was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2011 and had the operation so she could continue dancing. Now sixteen years old, she's the national spokesperson for The Truth 365, a childhood cancer advocacy group.

Sean Prendeville was diagnosed at ten years old with a very aggressive osteosarcoma; his journey has been more difficult.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For people wondering why the turn backwards: it's so that the ankle can become a knee joint, which allows for much higher-function prosthetics. It's either for cancers in the knee joint or hip joint (in which case the knee becomes a hip joint.)
posted by tavella at 7:56 PM on February 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

Warning for people who are uncomfortable viewing disfigurement: These links feature a lot of it, and the suggested Youtube videos feature more.
posted by LSK at 9:02 PM on February 4, 2018

That is crazy cool. What an amazing solution to losing a knee joint, Those kids have had a rough go it's good to see them both looking forward to the future.
posted by fshgrl at 9:31 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I find stuff like this fascinating. We can't regrow limbs but we can reattach your own limbs in really creative ways.

A few years ago my partner had a patient who had blown off his legs, face and shredded his hands with a homemade bomb. The surgeons harvested toes off his severed legs to re-purpose as pincing fingers so he'd have some level of function going forward.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 12:56 AM on February 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

What I thought was neat about Sean was how he seems to have gotten good at living in the moment. Like when he described making tea.
posted by aniola at 6:22 AM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

A childhood friend lost a thumb in a tractor's PTO (power take-off). A plastic surgeon removed a bit of bone from one of his hips and made a new "thumb" out of it. It doesn't bend, but it's in opposition to that hand's fingers, which is like 80% of what a thumb is useful for.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:16 AM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

People can be so creative in coming up with improvements/solutions! Wow! This is a wonderful option when needed. Thank you for sharing this.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 12:54 PM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

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