It’s been a long while since I’ve written any sort of formal update on Eli. If you have known us or have been a reader here for any length of time, you know that Eli was born with a couple of growth conditions. One called hemihyperplasia (previously named hemihypertrophy) and torticollis. When he was about a year and a half old, I wrote a detailed description of what those two things are.
Since he began walking 8 years ago, he has been at increased risk for scoliosis, hip dysplasia, and a few other maladies due to the difference in the length of his legs. From the initial diagnosis, we have always said we wouldn’t make any decisions on what we might do for his future until he got to an age or medical condition in which we needed to make hard choices. When he was much younger, his doctors had no way of estimating how he would grow or what is growth patterns would look like. He’s nine now and we’ve reached an age where his doctor is confident in predicting his future growth (how crazy is it that they can do this now??).
Three orthopedic surgeons later and he’s about to have his first operation.
Eli’s leg length discrepancy is currently 4.1cm. His left leg being that much longer than his right. He is also consistently 1.5-2 shoe sizes different and still wears a custom lift on the sole of his shoe.
Unfortunately, over the last few years, he has developed the beginnings of scoliosis due to his legs being unequal the majority of the time (when he’s not wearing shoes) and his automatic gate correction (he’s still chugging along in physical therapy to help him correct the way he walks). The best way to combat his scoliosis is an operation on his left leg. The operation consists of metal plates and screws being inserted into the growth plates at the bottom of his femur and top of his tibia, and a smaller device/screw will also be inserted into the growth plate at the top of his fibula to halt the growth of his left leg. This operation basically just puts the growth plates in pause mode, because it physically inhibits them from growing. It is a minimally invasive surgery with a recovery of only a couple of weeks. His surgeon is confident he will return to his normal athletic activities with no long term trouble.
These growth plates no longer being active means the right leg will have some time to “catch up” to the left. While nothing can be done to change the girth difference in his legs, or the size difference in his feet, the goal is that slowly, over a couple of years, his hips will level out and it will reverse the scoliosis curvature he is already experiencing. It is anticipated that he will keep these plates in for approximately two and a half years. His growth progress will be monitored very closely over those two years. This will allow us to make decisions on whether to remove them early, or possibly keep them in longer.
He has other asymmetries (internal organs, face, rib cage, etc.), but his legs are likely the only thing that will ever need any intervention. The others aren’t harmful or inhibiting in any way.
Eli’s operation will take place tomorrow, September 2, would you please pray with us for comfort, ease of recovery, wisdom of the medical team, and my sanity as I make him sit still for two whole weeks. His track record for sitting still is not so good – 3 years ago, the day after a hernia repair, he asked if he could ride his bike!!