Doctor Makes Functioning Arm for 8-Year-Old Out of His Foot Bone

Lai Ding is recovering well following the surgery.

A Maryland surgeon completely straightened out the arm of an 8-year-old boy, who was born with a radial club, in a surgery that utilized his foot bone.

Lai Ding’s genetic condition caused him to have a shortened forearm and an arm that curved at a right angle. His condition was said to be drawing unwanted attention to the boy, according to doctors. 

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His parents turned to doctors to help straighten the 8-year-old’s arm and allow it to grow with him.

In the first surgery of its kind in the U.S., Dr. Ryan Katz of The Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, performed a procedure that removed a bone from Lai Ding’s second toe, including a growth plate, and used it to create a functioning hand and arm.

“Post-operatively, he has done great. He is walking without a limp and doing recreational activities,” Dr. Katz told “He is using his hands more and more.”

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The micro-surgeon consulted a doctor from Finland for instruction on the technique they used in the eight-hour procedure.

"He can now grow longitudinally. These complex problems may have complex and unique solutions and it pays to ask around to find the institutions that can offer solutions."

Lai goes to physical therapy every week and continues to grow leaps and bounds.

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