First Israeli Recipient of Implant that “Grows”
About a year before her diagnosis, Shir complained about knee pain but her family doctor diagnosed a pulled muscle or growing pains. Months passed and with the approaching summer vacation, she still had no respite from the pain. A pediatric orthopedist sent Shir for an x-ray, which effectively saved her life.
In the Pediatric Emergency Room of Rambam Health Care Campus, Dr. David Nikomorov, an orthopedic oncologist, confirmed Shir’s diagnosis. She had a rare form of bone cancer that almost never affects children.
Dr. Nikomorov understood the implications of his young patient’s condition. Standard treatment would mean the removal and replacement of Shir’s knee and significant parts of the surrounding bone. In adults, this is not a major problem, however, for a child, this would mean several follow-up surgeries to accommodate Shir’s normal growth. Thus began Dr. Nikomorov’s quest for a practical alternative.
After extensive research, Dr. Nikomorov approached Stanmore Implants, a UK-based company specializing in implants for unusual orthopedic cases. Stanmore devised an implant that could be adjusted and lengthened using externally-applied electromagnetic energy. The cost for the new implant, almost $100,000, was covered by Rambam and various components of Israel’s health care system.
In an 11-hour operation, Rambam surgeons removed the diseased bone and positioned the implant—the first procedure of its kind to be performed in Israel. The following day, Shir was able to get out of bed and apply pressure on the affected leg. Since then, Shir has undergone further chemotherapy and physical therapy, and her recovery has been without complications.
“When Shir was finally able to walk on both feet, I cried with joy and relief,” explains Shir’s mother. Thanks to Dr. Nikomorov’s initiative and willingness to think outside the box, Shir was given a new chance to run, to play, to grow, and to thrive.