Sunday, November 26, 2006

Elias' Leg

Elias was born with a leg deformity called popliteal pterygium. Basically, this means that there is a large webbing of skin behind his left knee that connects the back of his thigh to the back of his calf. Also, his foot is not fully formed. The doctors have determined that the best course of action is to amputate his leg through the knee, called a knee disarticulation. This enables him to keep all of his femur which will really help him "weight bear" on a prosthetic leg and provide him great mobility.

Many people have asked why the doctors don't just cut the skin and straighten Elias' leg out. We wish they could! But, his foot is deformed and would never be functional. Also, because Elias was born with the webbing, he would always struggle with his knee being contracted. Even if the doctors tried to straighten his leg, it would take multiple surgeries with no guarantees and little function gained. So, an amputation is the best option and will allow him to have good function and mobility.

Once Elias heals from the operation (2-4 weeks), Chase will start the process to make Elias' prosthetic leg. Hopefully he'll be fit with his first prosthetic leg in late December or early January. It will take him a while to develop the strength to use his leg. He's already in physical therapy now and will continue working with his therapist at least a couple times a week. After Elias has his prosthetic leg, he will go back to Shriner's Hospital for inpatient PT for 3-5 days. It will be an intense week, but very beneficial for him. Elias was very small and weak when we brought him home from Ethiopia in May. In fact, he could barely even scoot across the floor. Now we call him "the tank", both because of his huge weight gain, and also because he crawls so fast, no matter what or who is in his way. He's a very determined little boy and we have no doubt he will do very well with the challenges ahead of him.

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