By five-years-old, his discrepancy was about 5-6 centimeters, and we had made our way to Baltimore and Dr. Standard. He experienced no problems or limitations -aside from an occasional knee pain or two (probably caused by the valgus in his knee).
Ethan's first surgery was performed four months before his 7th birthday--this involved the placement of an external fixator on the tibia/fibula and an 8-plate insertion. The first six weeks were rough -as he lost the ability to bend his knee without excruciating pain. After much therapy, however, he began to make great gains. His leg was quite cooperative, and aside from a few pin site infections, things progressed rather smoothly. We stayed in Baltimore for 10 weeks post surgery -in order to be near Dr. Standard and the physical therapy department. Ethan had land and pool therapy three times a week and x-rays every two weeks! We were able to watch his leg grow 6 centimeters as new bone developed (2011)
Six months later, the fixator was removed -and replaced with a thigh-high cast.
Though a bit cumbersome, wearing a cast for eight weeks was a sigh of relief in comparison to the ex-fix!
After a couple of months, the first cast was replaced with a removable one, and after almost 9 months, his leg was free! Ethan began therapy to strengthen his leg and to learn to walk with a normal gait. As the picture above shows, the valgus in his knee was still an issue after removal, and his scarring was quite prominent. (2012)
A year after fixator surgery, Ethan had another surgery to move the 8-plate in his femur to his tibia -to continue working on the valgus in his knee -and ultimately straighten his leg. Dr. Standard also attempted to release his scars in order to correct the deeper scars that wanted to adhere to the bone (pins from the ex-fix had pushed the skin to the bone). Ultimately, some scars simple were corrected while others returned to the previous "sunken" state. Recovery was surprisingly quick with minimal pain. (2012)
The pictures above show the difference that 8-plates can make in the overall "straightness" of the legs! However, fibular hemimelia legs are apt to slide back into a valgus position -and that's what Ethan's legs did -requiring another 8-plate transfer -this time from the tibia back to the femur.
Ethan's second 8-plate surgery was successful, and Dr. Standard again performed a scar release, this time more extensively -so that the scars were reopened and stitched. This was his roughest recovery -being in quite a bit of pain following the surgery. His pain subsided within a few hours, though, and he was excited to finally have crutches, having graduated from the walker! The recovery period involved soreness and about ten days of limited activity (2014)
Less than a year later, Ethan's femur slipped back into a valgus position, so another 8-plate surgery was required. Dr. Standard also decided to address his ankle! As the pic below illustrates, his ankle turns in -as it is also in a valgus position. Therefore, an 8-plate of sorts was inserted in the ankle as well- projected to take a couple of years to correct.