Much of the Kansas City region and most of the United Kingdom have been following the cancer journey of 10-year-old Alex Goodwin for many months. He and his family came to the states in 2016 for treatment of Ewing sarcoma, a cancer in his leg. He’s now reached a major milestone in his treatment.
Dr. Howard Rosenthal specializes in orthopedic oncology and metabolic bone diseases at The University of Kansas Hospital’s Sarcoma Center. After removing the cancerous bone from Alex several months ago, Dr. Rosenthal implanted a custom-made titanium prosthesis which will “grow” as he ages to match the development of his healthy leg. The implant has motors that can be operated from outside the body using electromagnets, gradually lengthening the implant and subsequently the leg. “Before, we used an implant that had to be lengthened surgically,” he 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 four minutes to grow the leg and the patient feels no pain and goes home afterwards.”
In the video, Dr. Rosenthal explains how well Alex’s procedure went, how the device will work, and how extending the limb is so easy to do, he’ll let Alex push the button that makes it happen. He also explains the complicated process in having the device built and shipped from overseas.
Also in the video, Alex’s mother, Maria Goodwin, shares her joy over Alex’s treatment so far as well as plans for their return home to the UK in August. After Alex returns to the UK, he will need to return to Kansas City every three months for ten years to have the grower bone adjusted and watch to make sure his cancer does not return. Projected expenses have led the Goodwins to share their story in a book and documentary to raise money for Alex’s continued to treatments. Click here for details.
The video also includes scenes from the surgery.