A toddler who was unable to walk or stand due to a cancer in his knee can now run and play after doctors have amputated his leg and reattached it.
Maxi Richards, three, from Tasmania, Australia, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2016 with a rare form of bone cancer.
Doctors initially thought it was a virus that suddenly made him lose the ability to carry weight on his legs at the age of 15.
Parents Julie Ford, 28, and Greg Richards, 31, were devastated by the fact that their son needed 23 chemotherapy attacks and was in hospital for nine months.
Maxi underwent a radical operation, known as a rotational plasma to remove his cancerous knee.
His lower leg was attached to the back of his thigh and his ankle and foot act as a knee joint with a full range of movement as he grows up.
Maxi took his first steps on his new prosthetic leg seven months after his surgery and was declared completely cancer-free the following day.
Maxi Richards, three, from Tasmania, Australia, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2016, a rare form of bone cancer. Doctors amputated his leg and confirmed it backwards to eradicate the cancer (pictured, in the hospital during chemotherapy)
Maxi underwent a radical operation, known as a rotational plasma to amputate his cancerous knee. It makes his leg shorter until he puts the prosthesis on (photo)
Parents Julie Ford, 28, and Greg Richards, 31, pictured with Maxi and their other son, Nate, seven, said they couldn't be more proud of their & # 39; amazing & # 39; son
Maxi has only grown stronger since his operation and now enjoys running, climbing and playing with his friends and big brother Nate Richards, seven.
Although he still has a long way to go, full-time mom Mrs. Ford and truck driver Mr. Richards can't be more proud of their & # 39; great & # 39; son.
Mrs. Ford said: & I remember Maxi taking his first steps with his first prosthesis. It was amazing.
& # 39; He was like a little lamb on his shaky legs. In the beginning he was a bit insecure. He grabbed his father and looked up at him as if he wanted to say "can we stop now?"
WHAT IS A ROTATIONPLASTY?
Rotationplasty is a surgical procedure that is often offered to children with bone cancer around their knee joints.
The operation involves removing cancerous bone, as well as some healthy bone, to provide a & # 39; clear margin & # 39; to ensure.
The lower leg is then rotated 180 degrees and re-attached.
This gives the appearance of a short leg with one foot to the back.
The foot and ankle then function as a knee joint, allowing the patient to wear more functional prostheses under the knee.
Advantages include that children are better able to exercise and daily activities.
Complications can include: decreased blood flow, infections, nerve injury and delayed healing.
& # 39; He was a bit overwhelmed, but he got over it fairly quickly.
& # 39; Maxi was declared cancer-free the next day. It was the best day ever. We were so happy. It felt like an enormous weight had been lifted. & # 39;
& # 39; We are so proud of him. He has been through so much and he never lets him reach it. He always smiles happily. He is so bubbles and his personality is huge
& # 39; His life becomes simpler as he grows. & # 39;
Mrs. Ford and her son visited Maxi & # 39; s grandmother on October 26, 2016 when Mrs. Ford started lifting the toddler out of his high chair and discovered that he could no longer stand.
At first, Ford joked that Maxi must have pins and needles. But when he collapsed, Ford knew something was wrong and hurried to the doctors.
The doctor diagnosed Maxi with a virus and told Ford to return within a week if Maxi had not improved.
Mrs. Ford and Mr. Richards watched over Maxi for the next eight days when he was a & # 39; other child & # 39; and returned from running around to crawling.
The couple returned Maxi to the doctor on November 3, 2016, and insisted on an X-ray that revealed shadow on his right knee.
Mrs. Ford and Mr. Richards believed that Maxi should have hurt herself and cancer never even occurred to them.
The couple received a phone call asking them to go to A&E, where Maxi was going to take more X-rays and MRI scans.
Maxi took his first steps on his new prosthetic leg seven months after his operation in September 2017 and was declared completely cancer-free the following day
Maxi was healthy until October 26, 2016 when Mrs. Ford lifted Maxi, who was 15 months old, out of his high chair and noticed that he could no longer stand. Previously pictured
A biopsy of Maxi's knee growth, performed on November 11, 2016, confirmed that the toddler had osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Depicted in the hospital with Mrs. Ford during chemotherapy, before his rotation site
Maxi, pictured in the hospital with Nate after his rotation plasma, needed 23 attacks of chemotherapy and would have been in the hospital for nine months
Being so young, Maxi & # 39; s rear foot does not yet behave like a knee, but he still finds a way to run, climb, and play with his brother. Recently pictured
A specialist explained to Ms. Ford and Mr. Richards that the & # 39; worst case scenario & # 39; childhood cancer.
This first cancer report made Ford furious when she went into denial and & # 39; refused to cry & # 39; or accepted that the worst case scenario was even a possibility.
Mrs. Ford said: & # 39; We knew something was wrong, but we never thought it would be cancer.
& # 39; One of them told us the worst scenario was childhood cancer, but they had to look at all the options. I just stared at him. I didn't understand why he would say that.
& # 39; I stopped my tears. I refused to cry and I refused to believe that this could be the worst case. My eyes just burned in that doctor all the time. I was so angry. & # 39;
Unfortunately, a biopsy of the growth of Maxi's knee on November 11, 2016 confirmed that the toddler had osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, usually diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.
About 850 new cases of osteosarcoma are diagnosed each year in the US, 30 in the UK and 400 in Australia.
Maxi and his parents were flown to Melbourne on November 20, 2016 where more tests confirmed that the cancer had not spread and the toddler had quickly started chemotherapy.
Maxi's parents said that cancer never occurred to them until doctors told them the & # 39; worst case scenario & # 39; expected. On the photo, Maxi during treatment after his surgery
Maxi and his parents (photo, Mr. Richards) flew to Melbourne on November 20, 2016 for his treatment. He stayed there until August 2017
Mrs. Ford said: & When I received the call to tell us that Maxi had osteosarcoma, I lost it. I was just broken and shocked. It was so hard to explain to everyone.
& # 39; It all happened so quickly. We didn't know how long we were going to stay there, so we had packed two sets of clothes, but when we arrived at the hospital, they told us we were going to stay nine months.
& # 39; They did more scans and confirmed that the cancer had not spread. We were so grateful. We wept happy tears. & # 39;
Although they knew their son could lose his leg, a surgeon confirmed on December 8 that Maxi only had two options to beat his cancer – an amputation above the knee or a plastic rotation.
Although the unusual operation & # 39; impossible & # 39; sounded to the parents, Mrs. Ford and Mr Richards knew that it was Maxi's best chance of a life without limitations.
The rotation plasty involved surgeons who removed Maxi's knee along with eight centimeters of Maxi's thigh and part of his tibia before attaching the lower leg back.
Because he is so young, Maxi's back foot does not behave like a knee yet, but he has found ways to run, climb, and play.
When he is about 16, his back foot will be in line with his other knee and he will have a fully functioning knee and range of motion.
Maxi's operation in February 2017 lasted nine hours, during which time Ford and Mr Richardson had to wait.
Mrs. Ford said: & # 39; We knew there was a chance he could lose his leg, but we decided we would cross that bridge when we got there.
& # 39; When he explained to us what a rotation plastic was, it just sounded impossible. It was huge to get our heads around.
The rotation plasty concerned surgeons who removed Maxi's knee along with eight centimeters of Maxi's thigh and part of his tibia before attaching the lower leg backwards
Without the prosthesis, Maxi's amputated leg is shorter than his other leg (photo)
Mrs. Ford said seeing her son after surgery was like & # 39; falling in love again with him & # 39 ;. Maxi, pictured at home, attends approximately 15 medical appointments per month to promote his recovery
Maxi is described as always smiling and happy and his parents have no doubt that his back leg won't stop him, despite & # 39; ignorant & # 39; strangers asking why his leg can't be fixed & # 39;
& # 39; The surgeon explained that with a spinplasty there would be more future for Maxi and more he could achieve.
& # 39; When we received the call to say he was gone, Greg and I walked in and saw him in recovery and he was covered with a really warm blanket and all you could see was his face.
& # 39; It was as if I fell in love with him again. We were just so happy that the cancer was no longer there. & # 39;
After the operation Maxi had to undergo more chemotherapy to ensure that all traces of the cancer had disappeared from his system. He was finally allowed to go home on August 8, 2017.
Maxi still has a long way to go and is still attending about 15 medical appointments a month, including physical therapy and speech therapy, because he has hearing loss and is slowing the development of chemotherapy worldwide.
But he continues to amaze his parents and big brother with his incredible resilience.
While the family is happy with Maxi's & # 39; s hind leg, Ford notices that she explains to her at least twice a week about the unusual limb of & # 39; ignorant & # 39; s. foreigners who ask if it can be remedied & # 39; & # 39 ;.
She is determined to increase the awareness of rotational plastic, so that Maxi never feels that he should justify his leg to anyone.
Mrs. Ford said: & We know we have made the right decision for Maxi. The operation saved his life. I'm so glad I got him here, I have to hold him.
& # 39; But I find myself explaining Maxi to people at least twice a week. So many people are staring and giving you the feeling that something is wrong. It is so frustrating.
& # 39; When I explain to people what happened, the most common questions I get are the answer & # 39; are they going to roll it back? & # 39; or & # 39; why can't they fix it? & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I don't even know what to say to those people. They clearly did not listen to what I said. It's just ignorance. & # 39;
WHAT IS OSTEOSARCOMA?
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, usually diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.
It happens when the cells that grow new bone form a tumor.
The cause of the cancer is unknown, but it is thought to be related to rapid bone growth, such as adolescence.
Most tumors usually develop around the knee, either in the lower part of the femur or the upper part of the tibia.
If the cancer has not spread, the long-term survival rate is between 70 and 75 percent.
If osteosarcoma has already spread, such as to the lungs or other bones when diagnosed, the long-term survival rate is around 30 percent.
- Bone pain (in motion, at rest or when lifting objects)
- Bone fractures
- Restriction of joint movement
There are a few treatment options for osteosarcoma.
Often administered before surgery, chemotherapy uses drugs that help shrink 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 malignant limb. The tumor and the surrounding bone are removed and the missing bone is replaced by an artificial bone.
A rotational plasma is a procedure in which the underside of the femur, knee and upper tibia are surgically removed. The lower leg is then rotated 180 degrees and attached to the femur.
sources: Macmillan and Healthline
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