Patient Testimonial

Ashley, REPIPHYSIS® Expandable Limb Salvage Implant Recipient


When Ashley's mother, Donna, ran her hand over her 10 year-old daughter's left leg and felt a bump, they both assumed it was a minor injury from gymnastics class. Several days later the bump remained and Ashley's father, Floyd, became suspicious when he noticed there was no bruising around the area. He suggested Ashley see a doctor right away for x-rays. Ashley's pediatrician confirmed Floyd's instinct that it was not just a minor bump on Ashley's leg. Ashley was immediately sent to orthopedic specialist, Mike Neel, at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Dr. Neel diagnosed Ashley with osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in children, frequently occurring in the femur, tibia or humerus.

A strong and religious family, they remained positive after hearing the diagnosis and concentrated all efforts on Ashley's treatment. Thankfully, tests revealed the cancer had not spread outside of Ashley's leg. After four rounds of chemotherapy, Dr. Neel told them they had successfully reduced the size of the tumor and it was time to surgically remove it. Because of the location of the tumor, Ashley's growth plate would also have to be removed.


As a replacement for the bone to be removed, Dr. Neel suggested the REPIPHYSIS® Expandable Implant, the first bone replacement that does not require additional surgeries to lengthen the implant as the child's healthy limb grows. Instead, when the healthy limb grows, a 20 second, noninvasive procedure is performed to lengthen the prosthetic. The doctor places a magnetic field outside the patient's body to initiate the lengthening process and the field activates the expansion mechanism inside the REPIPHYSIS® implant, allowing the spring inside the device to expand. Based on the location of Ashley's tumor, Dr. Neel felt Ashley was an ideal candidate for the treatment option.

Ashley had the REPIPHYSIS® device implanted in August of 2002. The family were thrilled that their daughter did not need an amputation and was able to keep her leg. The surgery was a success and Ashley continued on the path to recovery.


Now, more than two years later, Ashley is functioning and thriving as a normal twelve-year-old. She is active in her church youth group and especially likes drama group. Many afternoons are spent at cheerleading practice or riding her bike around the neighborhood with friends.

"The year after Ashley's diagnosis was a trying time for our family, but with the support from our family, friends, the unbelievable staff at St. Jude's and advancements in medicine, Ashley pulled through and is thriving," said Donna.

"We are committed to raising awareness for the REPIPHYSIS® Expandable Implant option so that other children with osteosarcoma will also be aware of this wonderful option that may enable them to keep their legs."

These results are specific to this individual only. Individual results and activity levels after surgery vary and depend on many factors including age, weight and prior activity level.

There are risks and recovery times associated with surgery and there are certain individuals who should not undergo surgery.

Only a physician can tell you if this product and associated procedure are right for you and your unique circumstances. Please consult with a physician for complete information regarding benefits, risks and possible outcomes.