Published November 20, 2014
Doctors saved a British teenage cancer sufferer's leg by removing part of the limb and taking it to another hospital for treatment—before reattaching it while the boy was still on the operating table.
A 12-inch piece of shin bone was taken from 15-year-old Matthew Willey's leg at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, central England, and transported to another hospital three miles away for radiotherapy treatment.
The treated bone was then returned and re-implanted in Matthew's leg with his fibula, also known as the calf bone, used to strengthen the leg, in a 10 hour operation, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported Monday.
Matthew—who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, earlier this year—is now recovering at home in the village of Barwick-in-Elmet, near Leeds, northern England.
His mother, Julie Willey, 51, said, "Matthew's reaction was, 'It can take my leg, but it's not having my life.' We just went to bits."
His father, William Willey, 42, said, "We were relieved they were going to save his leg because the feedback at first was that he was going to lose it. It's better to have your own bone in there with a metal pin, and it will knit back together."
Dr. Simone Wilkins, one of Matthew's doctors, said, "In Matthew's case, surgeons used his own bone—which was removed, treated with radiotherapy and replaced—which is a technique which has been used for the last couple of years to try to avoid amputation."