He is free to go, and he can do as much as he wants, there’s no restrictions whatsoever and I love that he can just go be a kid.Wendy, mother of Jadon
A very active 16 year-old, Jadon loves playing soccer, rollerblading with sisters and hanging out with friends. But a few years ago, all of this seemed like it would not be possible.
“Jadon was about 13 when I first saw that his leg seemed to be bowing a little bit and when I ask my husband if he had noticed it and he said yes he thought something was wrong,” said Jadon’s mom Wendy.
“When I first met Jadon, he had a deformity in his leg it was a little bit crooked, we call it varus deformity which is bow legged,” said Dr. Virginia Casey, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon with OrthoCarolina. “We discovered that he had a bone lesion it’s called an enchondroma, it’s consistent with a disease called Ollier’s disease and that can cause limb length discrepancies, so one leg shorter than the other,”
“Dr. Casey told us that Jadon had a tumor and it needed to be removed,” said Wendy.
“You hear tumor and automatically my mind went to cancer,” said Jadon.
“It’s your biggest fear when you hear the word tumor,” said Jadon’s dad Jonathan. “I didn’t even know what Ollier’s was, we had to do some research, just start trusting the doctors, yeah, a lot of unknowns. It was scary.”
“The length discrepancy in my right leg was about two inches,” said Jadon. “It totally affected the way I moved, my hips were off, and it caused a good deal of back pain, I had a bulging disc in my back that I had to go get physical therapy for to correct.”
“Once we received the diagnosis of a benign tumor, Jadon had to wait about a year to fully reach his growth so we could proceed with the surgery that would allow him to grow his leg,” said Wendy.
Dr. Casey said, “A good candidate for lengthening with the Fitbone nail is a just barely skeletally mature patient, so still an adolescent who has a limb length discrepancy with or without deformity.”
“When I heard I had to have that surgery I was definitely scared that I wouldn’t be able to play soccer, that I wouldn’t be able to run again,” said Jadon.
“When Dr. Casey told us there was this new apparatus that they could insert into his leg, nothing was going to be sticking out of it, but he was just going to be able to put an electronic device to it to grow it, I think there was just a lot of relief for both Jadon and I that this thing was going to be pretty discrete,” said Wendy.
“The Fitbone nail works by placing the nail through the knee into the femur,” said Dr. Casey. “We then put two screws close to the knee, one screw above the cut in the bone. Then we place a receiver, and the receiver sits just under the skin. The patient takes the transmitter and puts it on top of the skin, sending a signal to the receiver which then goes into the nail and the nail has a motor which lengthens it.”
“The amount of time the rod was in my leg doing the lengthening surprised me because I thought it would take a lot longer than it did,” said Jadon. “I was done within a few months – that was awesome.”
“It was amazing, every time we saw a new picture from the scans that Dr. Casey gave us, it’s incredible to see bone growing in a gap,” said Jonathan. “The fact that you can remove the rod and he’s now just Jadon without anything in his leg, it’s pretty incredible. From my perspective, anyone who is looking at this as an option, I would do it over again in a heartbeat because I can see what it’s given my son again and I don’t think there is another option better.”
“Now that I am through the recovery process it’s great being able to go back on the field, score goals and get involved with the team like I used to,” said Jadon.
“I love seeing Jadon being able to get out there with his sisters and rollerblade and play sports and just be a family again,” said Wendy. “He is free to go, and he can do as much as he wants, there’s no restrictions whatsoever and I love that he can just go be a kid. He’s whole again.”