A year ago at this time, things didn’t look too good for 10-year-old Alex Goodwin. He and has family live in England, and doctors there had a grim prognosis. Alex had a type of bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma, and wasn’t given long to live. Alex and his parents flew to Kansas City seeking treatment. After surgery and radiation at The University of Kansas Cancer Center and chemotherapy at Children’s Mercy Hospital, a surgical team, led by Dr. Howard Rosenthal, replaced Alex’s cancerous leg bone with a specially crafted prosthetic that can be lengthened as he grows. What a difference a year makes!
Alex and his mom recently returned to The University of Kansas Cancer Center for a follow up visit. Dr. Rosenthal had great news…Alex is cancer free a year after the surgery. More importantly, Alex was able to walk to the exam table without using any kind of walker or wheelchair. The now 11-year-old Alex was eager to have his new ‘grower bone’ adjusted.
“Before, we used an implant that had to be lengthened surgically,” Dr. Rosenthal, MD, orthopedic surgeon said. “The patient would be in the hospital for a week and would need physical therapy afterwards. This process would be required up to eight times until adulthood. Each time there was a risk of infection. Now we can extend the limb on an outpatient basis. It takes just a few minutes to grow the leg and the patient feels no pain and goes home afterwards.”
Alex’s leg adjustment took 12 minutes to grow it four millimeters or .16 of an inch. He giggled at times saying the magnet that ‘magically grows his bone’ tickled. He’ll come back every three months for another adjustment to keep his legs even.
In the video Dr. Rosenthal talks about the amazing turnaround in Alex’s life, going from a poor prognosis to what now looks like being able to live a normal life…which could include sports.
Also, Alex and his mother, Maria, talk more about life after battling cancer and living with the ‘grower bone.’ B-roll shows Dr. Rosenthal examining Alex and using what Dr. Rosenthal calls the ‘magic wand’ to grow his prosthetic implant.