Seven-year-old Amelia Eldred from Tamworth, England, has been the focus of a very unusual surgical intervention designed to help the little girl win the battle against bone cancer.
The brave little patient, as the doctor who performed the surgery has described her, underwent a rare medical procedure known as rotationplasty, in which her left leg was amputated and reattached backward at the hip.
Amelia had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor, in her left femur. In her case, chemotherapy failed to shrink the tumor, so amputation became her only choice of keeping the cancer from spreading.
In order to improve her chances of wearing a prosthetic leg in the future, doctors at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital in Birmingham came up with the solution of performing a rotationplasty.
This procedure aimed to save the 7-year-old from having an amputation at the hip by allowing her to keep a functioning knee joint that would be later on fitted into a prosthesis, notes a Royal Orthopedic Hospital news release.
During the rotationplasty, the doctors amputated the leg above the knee and removed the knee joint, which had been affected by the tumor. Then, they reattached the leg back on Amelia's hip, only they did it backward, so that she could use the saved ankle as a knee.
The reason why her leg had to be rotated before being reattached is that the ankle flexes in the opposite direction compared to the knee, explains the news release.