Dancer, 12, who lost a leg due to a rare bone cancer, undergoes an operation to turn his ankle into a KNEE.

Delaney Unger, 12 (pictured), of Selden, New York, who lost part of her leg to bone cancer has had her ankle turned into a knee joint so she can dance with her prosthesis

A 12-year-old girl who lost part of her leg due to bone cancer has had her ankle transformed into a knee joint so she can dance with her prosthesis.

Delaney Unger, of Selden, New York, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left femur in December 2016.

He was told that a part of his leg would need to be amputated to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Having danced since the age of three, Delaney thought that her dreams of becoming a professional dancer had ended, until doctors presented her family with an unusual alternative.

The operation would involve removing the cancerous part of your leg, and then rotating it 180 degrees and attaching it backward. Your ankle would now work like a knee and fit inside a prosthesis, offering you more mobility than a traditional amputation.

Almost a year and a half after her surgery and going through substantial rehabilitation, Delaney can now walk, jump and even dance again.

Speaking to Daily Mail Online, his family tells how he was diagnosed, why the surgery option did not seem "crazy" and why Delaney says it was so important not to lose his personality.

Delaney Unger, 12 (pictured), of Selden, New York, who lost part of her leg to bone cancer has had her ankle turned into a knee joint so she can dance with her prosthesis

He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the left femur in December 2016. In the photograph: Delaney in physiotherapy

He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the left femur in December 2016. In the photograph: Delaney in physiotherapy

Delaney Unger, 12 (left and right), from Selden, New York, who lost part of her leg to bone cancer, had an ankle so she could dance with her prostheses. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left femur in December 2016

The doctors immediately started with Delaney (pictured) on chemotherapy, which was until about April 2017, when surgeons presented the operation as an option for their parents.

The doctors immediately started with Delaney (pictured) on chemotherapy, which was until about April 2017, when surgeons presented the operation as an option for their parents.

The doctors immediately started with Delaney (pictured) on chemotherapy, which was until about April 2017, when surgeons presented the operation as an option for their parents.

In November 2016, Delaney said he began to feel pain in his left knee to the point where he was crying.

"My dad got me a compression sleeve and ice and started treating it like it was an injury, I thought I had made a big effort," he told Daily Mail Online.

Delaney said that these treatments worked at first, but soon the pain worsened and he started limping.

Her parents took her to get an X-ray, thinking it would reveal a muscle strain or a stress fracture, but they got a call from her pediatrician telling them they needed to see an oncologist at Stony Brook Medicine.

The doctors told the Ungers that a mass had been found in Delaney's left femur. A biopsy was performed in December and, when the results returned, the diagnosis was osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. It occurs when cells that grow new bone form a cancerous tumor.

Most tumors usually develop around the knee, either in the lower part of the femur, where Delaney began, or in the upper part of the tibia.

If the cancer has not spread, the long-term survival rate is between 70 and 75 percent.

If the osteosarcoma has already spread, as in the lungs or other bones at the time of diagnosis, the long-term survival rate is about 30 percent.

"You can not breathe when you hear something like that," his father, Noah, told the Daily Mail Online.

A rotational plasty is a surgical procedure in which the lower part of the femur, knee, and upper part of the tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and fastened to the femur. In the photo: Delaney doing physiotherapy fractures

A rotational plasty is a surgical procedure in which the lower part of the femur, knee, and upper part of the tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and fastened to the femur. In the photo: Delaney doing physiotherapy fractures

A rotational plasty is a surgical procedure in which the lower part of the femur, knee, and upper part of the tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and fastened to the femur. In the photo: Delaney doing physiotherapy fractures

This gives the appearance of a short leg with one foot back, and the ankle acts like a new knee. In the photo: Delaney

This gives the appearance of a short leg with one foot back, and the ankle acts like a new knee. In the photo: Delaney

Then, the foot is placed inside a prosthesis, which will work in a similar way as it would in an amputation below the knee, but with more mobility. In the photo: Delaney

Then, the foot is placed inside a prosthesis, which will work in a similar way as it would in an amputation below the knee, but with more mobility. In the photo: Delaney

This gives the appearance of a short leg with one foot back, and the ankle acts like a new knee. Then, the foot is placed inside a prosthesis, which will work in a similar way as it would in an amputation below the knee, but with more mobility. In the photo, left and right: Delaney

Noah said he did not know what kind of cancer his daughter had but that, once they received the official diagnosis, they did a lot of research on all their treatment options.

Delaney immediately began chemotherapy, which was until about April.

"The first round was the worst because you do not know what to expect," her mother, Melissa, told Daily Mail Online.

He lost his hair, so that was difficult. I had a lot of nausea, I did not eat, I lost a lot of weight. But you have to believe that doctors create the best plan for you, so you have to take it into account. "

It was around this time that Dr. Fazel Khan, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, presented his parents with an unusual operation.

A rotational plasty is a surgical procedure in which the lower part of the femur, knee, and upper part of the tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and fastened to the femur.

WHAT IS A ROTATION OF PLANTS?

Rotoplasty is a surgical procedure that is often offered to children with bone cancer around the knee joints.

The operation consists in removing the cancerous bone, as well as some healthy bones, to guarantee a "clear margin".

The lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and reattached.

This gives the appearance of a short leg with one foot back.

The foot and ankle function as a knee joint, allowing the patient to use more functional knee prostheses below the knee.

The advantages include that children are better able to perform sports and daily activities.

Complications can include a reduced blood supply, infections, nerve injuries and delayed healing.

Source: Physiopedia

This gives the appearance of a short leg with one foot back, and the ankle acts like a new knee.

"We, at that time, had investigated a little on our own." Then, when Dr. Kahn introduced us with this option, he probably thought we would think he was crazy, "Noah said.

"But we had we analyzed it, we knew what it was. Delaney and I were on board, although Melissa was not at the beginning.

He explained that all other treatment options would have left Delaney with too limited mobility.

Dr. Kahn explained to Daily Mail Online that the goal is to eliminate cancer completely to maximize function.

"Knee replacements are an option, but they do not last long and are not durable, and the dance is especially hard with knee replacements," he explained.

The Ungers accepted the surgery and Delaney underwent the 13-hour operation in April.

After the chemotherapy reduced the tumor, the cancerous part of the knee is removed.

& # 39; After Dr. Kahn takes [Delaney] aside, I work to put it together, "Dr. Jason Ganz, an assistant professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, told the Daily Mail Online.

& # 39; The surgery is designed to ensure that the blood supply to the lower leg remains intact. After everything is back together, then we have to re-unite all the muscles in your thigh. "

The lower part of the leg and foot are rotated 180 degrees and the tibia is fused with the femur. The ankle now functions as a knee joint as a natural knee would do and the fingers will communicate with the brain to help it move.

Delaney said that after the surgery, it felt great.

"I was not nervous before because I knew I was closer to dancing again and it was great to know that the tumor was gone," he said.

The 13-hour surgery was performed in April 2017 and Delaney received chemotherapy three weeks later. In the photo: Delaney with her twin brother Cameron, 12

The 13-hour surgery was performed in April 2017 and Delaney received chemotherapy three weeks later. In the photo: Delaney with her twin brother Cameron, 12

He finished his last round in August 2017 and began physiotherapy to learn how to use the ankle as a knee. In the photo: Delaney with her twin brother Cameron, 12

He finished his last round in August 2017 and began physiotherapy to learn how to use the ankle as a knee. In the photo: Delaney with her twin brother Cameron, 12

The 13-hour surgery was performed in April 2017 and Delaney received chemotherapy three weeks later. He finished his last round in August 2017 and began physiotherapy to learn how to use the ankle as a knee. In the photo, left and right: Delaney with her twin brother Cameron, 12

Delaney can now walk, jump and even dance. He is back in classes five days a week and is testing for kickline at his school

Delaney can now walk, jump and even dance. He is back in classes five days a week and is testing for kickline at his school

Delaney can now walk, jump and even dance. He is back in classes five days a week and is testing for kickline at his school

The doctors estimated that Delaney would return to chemotherapy in six weeks, but resumed his treatment three weeks later, with his last treatment completed in August 2017.

"She had exceeded the timeline faster than everyone thought she would," Noah said.

The next step was to adapt Delaney for her prosthesis, which Melissa said was difficult to keep her patient.

"Chemotherapy hits the bones so much that adapting it to a prosthesis at that time would have ruined the surgery," he said.

"It was hard for her to know mentally that the tumor had disappeared, but we had to explain to her that the sleeping cells are hiding somewhere else in the body, so we have to make sure that all of them are gone."

The next step is for the foot to fit inside a prosthesis, which will work in a similar way as it would in a below-the-knee amputation, but now the child is much more mobile.

During the next five years, Delaney will have to go to Stony Brook Children's Hospital for follow-up visits, but her parents say she has returned to normal.

This week she is testing on kickline at her school, she is a straight student and her twin brother [Cameron, 12] He no longer wears gloves for children, "Noah said.

"The first time I heard them arguing again, I had to smile before saying:" Stop, you can not be fighting "ยป.

Delaney is back in dance classes five days a week and, this weekend in Washington, DC, she will be dancing solo at CureFest, a fundraiser for several childhood cancers.

She says she hopes that any child who is going through something similar to her will not give up. [their] personality & # 39;

"Stay strong and do not give up because there is always this light at the end," he said.

You're going to get back to normal at the end of this mode, so stay as normal as you can all the time.

WHAT IS OSTEOSARCOMA?

Osteocarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, usually diagnosed in adolescents and young adults.

It occurs when cells that grow new bone form a cancerous tumor.

The cause of cancer is unknown, but it is thought to be related to the rapid growth of bones, such as adolescence.

Most tumors usually develop around the knee, either in the lower part of the femur or in the upper part of the tibia.

If the cancer has not spread, the long-term survival rate is between 70 and 75 percent.

If the osteosarcoma has already spread, as in the lungs or other bones at the time of diagnosis, the long-term survival rate is about 30 percent.

Symptom:

  • Bone pain (moving, resting, or lifting objects)
  • Bone fractures
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Limping
  • Limitation of movement of the joints

There are some treatment options for osteosarcoma.

Often administered before surgery, chemotherapy uses drugs that help reduce and kill cancer cells. The duration of treatment varies and may depend on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

In most cases, surgeons can save the cancerous limb. The tumor and the surrounding bone are removed and the missing bone is replaced by an artificial one.

A rotational plasty is where the lower part of the femur, knee, and upper tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is rotated 180 degrees and fastened to the femur.

Sources: Macmillan Y Healthline

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