Dugan Smith was a 10-year-old kid who was told he had a malignant cancer in his thigh bone, meaning his leg and knee would have to be amputated.Because his other options for leg replacement would have limited Dugan’s ability to play baseball again, doctors performed (at his request) a rare and risky procedure known as a rotationplasty.
His lower leg was removed, turned 180-degrees, then reattached where his femur would be.
His ankle – which now bends the other way – is now doing the work of his knee, giving him more strength and control than a fake knee (probably made out of metal) would have. A prosthetic leg can now be attached to his foot, completely his lower leg and allowing him to walk and run.
Dugan is now 13 and plays first base for his junior high team. The rare surgery (which took 25 hours) is performed about a dozen times a year in the U.S.
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