Alexander 'Magically' Grows His New Femur at the Doctor's Office

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Jill Chadwick

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Alexander Goodwin hopped onto the examination table with a little help from his Dad earlier this week.  Sporting a new, longer head of hair …10-year-old Alex was eager to have his new ‘grower bone’ adjusted so he could then go trick or treating.  It’s been an incredible medical journey for Alex and his parents who traveled from the United Kingdom in December of 2016, seeking treatment for Alex after he was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma cancer back in England.  They flew to Kansas City seeking treatment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center after doctors in the UK gave a dismal prognosis for Alex. 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.

“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.  In addition to his adjustment and trick or treating, Alex enjoyed a book signing at Rainy Day Books. Proceeds from the book go to medical expenses for Alex including the trips every three months back to the States to adjust his prosthetic. 

In the video below, Alex Goodwin and his father, Jeffrey talk more about life after battling cancer and living with the ‘grower bone’.  Broll shows Dr. Rosenthal examining Alex and using what Dr. Rosenthal calls the ‘magic wand’ to grow his prosethetic implant.