Jadon’s Story

I love seeing Jadon being able to get out there with his sisters and rollerblade and play sports. I love that he can just go be a kid. He’s whole again.

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 impossible.

It all began when Jadon’s mother, Wendy, noticed a subtle bowing in his leg around the age of 13. Concerned, she consulted her husband, and together they embarked on a journey that would test their strength as a family. 

Dr. Virginia Casey, a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at OrthoCarolina, identified a varus deformity – a bow-legged condition caused by an enchondroma, a bone lesion consistent with Ollier’s disease. This condition can cause LLD – leg length discrepancy, in which one leg is shorter than the other. 

“Dr. Casey told us that Jadon had a tumor and it needed to be removed,” said Wendy.

The revelation of a tumor instilled fear in Jadon and his family. Jonathan, Jadon’s father, confessed to the sense of overwhelming uncertainty, delving into research to comprehend Ollier’s disease.

Jadon vividly recalls his initial reaction, fearing the worst: “It’s your biggest fear when you hear the word tumor.”

The two-inch length discrepancy in Jadon’s right leg significantly impacted his mobility, causing back pain and even necessitating physical therapy. The benign tumor diagnosis provided relief but required patience as Jadon awaited full skeletal maturity before the surgery to correct the discrepancy could proceed.

“A good candidate for leg 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,” said Dr. Casey.

“The Fitbone™ Intramedullary Lengthening Nail works by placing the nail through the knee into the femur,” continued 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.” 

“When I heard I had to have surgery I was definitely scared 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 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 discreet,” said Wendy.

The lengthening process, facilitated by the Fitbone nail, surprised Jadon with its efficiency. Within a few months he was done, and the tangible progress showcased in scans amazed his family. Jonathan marveled at the images, appreciating the sight of bone regrowth in the gap left by the tumor.

“The fact that you can remove the rod and he’s now just Jadon without anything in his leg, it’s pretty incredible,” said Jonathan. “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.”

Jadon’s recovery was swift, and the removal of the rod marked a significant milestone. Jonathan, reflecting on the transformative journey, wholeheartedly endorsed the decision to opt for this innovative solution, acknowledging the unparalleled freedom it restored to his son. Now, with recovery behind him, Jadon is back on the soccer field, scoring goals, and embracing his role on the team.

“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 are no restrictions whatsoever and I love that he can just go be a kid. He’s whole again.”