Korina, GUARDIAN® Limb Salvage System Recipient
When Korina first learned that she had cancer, three days before her 19th birthday, she was devastated. "It tore my world apart," she remembers. Korina had decided to visit her physician after noticing strange swelling on her left knee. Her doctor discovered a mass at the end of her femur and diagnosed Korina with osteosarcoma—the most common form of bone cancer found in children and adolescents.
An active sophomore, Korina could not bear the possibility of amputation, which her doctor had warned her might be necessary. She traveled to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, where orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Michael Neel recommended an alternative to amputation-an internal prosthetic implant called the GUARDIAN® Limb Salvage System. Korina wanted nothing more than her own two legs, and was so pleased to have this option that she agreed to the surgery right away.
On October 23, 2003, Korina was implanted with the GUARDIAN® System in her left leg. The GUARDIAN® System consists of a hinged knee that includes tibial and femoral assemblies and stems to attach the components to the bones. It is ideal for patients who have experienced severe bone loss. After the surgery, Korina remembers constantly touching her left leg to make sure it was still there.
The devastation of having cancer took its toll on Korina but fortunately, a nurse introduced her to another St. Jude patient, Emily, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma just months before Korina. Just a couple years older than Korina, she could directly relate to Korina’s struggles. Emily’s talks and encouragement during physical therapy gave Korina the strength to stay positive during the darkest times. "Even now, I can still call on Emily. We have a strong bond that is different from any other friendship." Almost two years later on August 8, 2005, the roles reversed as Korina received a second implant before Emily. Just as Emily helped Korina prepare for her first surgery, Korina encouraged Emily during her second surgery.
Now, Korina reports she can sit normally and walk the same speed as others without anyone knowing about her cancer or surgery. In May, she will graduate with an associate degree in nursing. Her goal is to work at St. Jude and give back to the hospital and the individuals who helped her regain her life.
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