Patient Testimonial

Taylor, REPIPHYSIS® Expandable Limb Salvage Implant Recipient


At the age of 11, Taylor was recruited to practice with the high school track team. "When he was in 5th grade, Taylor was the boy 8th graders tried to beat in the 100-yard dash," recalls Mildred, Taylor's mom. Today, Taylor is 14 years old and a medical miracle. Three years ago he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in children, frequently occurring in the femur, tibia, and humerus. Tests revealed that several metastasized tumors invaded Taylor's upper leg. His mother feared that her young track star may never walk, let alone run, again.


Taylor and his parents sought the advice of Mike Neel, MD, orthopedic surgeon at St. Jude Medical Center, who specializes in treating children with bone cancer. Dr. Neel discussed standard treatment options, including amputation and limb salvage surgery. The latter enables children to keep the affected leg or arm by replacing the bone with a prosthetic implant. The major drawback is that the implant can not grow with the child, resulting in limb length discrepancies. The solution requires the child to undergo multiple invasive revision surgeries to implant a new, longer prosthesis to keep pace with the healthy limb's growth. Each revision surgery entails weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy.


Dr. Neel also suggested a third option, cleared by the FDA in December 2002, called the REPIPHYSIS® Expandable Implant. It's the first bone replacement that does not require additional surgeries to lengthen the implant as the child's healthy limb grows. Instead, when the child's 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 start the lengthening process and the field softens the plastic inside the REPIPHYSIS® implant, allowing the spring inside the device to expand.


Taylor and his mom chose the REPIPHYSIS® implant and he was implanted with the device. Three years later, Taylor is able to function as a normal teenager. Although he can't run competitively anymore, he plays basketball with friends and enjoys swimming. His mom says Taylor has the slightest bit of a limp, but covers it up with a "stylish saunter."

Taylor has grown a full eight inches in the last three years. If Taylor had a traditional prosthetic implant, he would have needed at least three or four revision surgeries by now. This would have come at a significant cost – lost time in school, playtime with friends, sports, and multiple scars. Instead, he has had 10 lengthening procedures and has been able to function as a normal kid.

"The REPIPHYSIS® Expandable Implant has allowed Taylor's life to continue as normal as possible," says Mildred. "We are so fortunate to have had access to the technology. I can't imagine what Taylor's life would have been like without this option."

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.