Dell Children’s new limb lengthening procedure gives teenager new start on life


Surgery lengthens leg after a severe injury

A frightening accident on an ATV sent Katie Procter to the hospital with severe leg fractures. Over the next five years Katie underwent six surgeries to repair her broken leg. Following a long healing process, Katie was left with a two-inch difference in the length of her legs.

Thanks to a new limb lengthening procedure at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas 14-year-old Katie is now on the road to recovery.

Bone lengthens with magnets

“With this advanced technology, we now have the ability to safely lengthen her short leg in a minimally invasive fashion,” said Chris Souder, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Dell Children’s.

In a two-step process, Souder first surgically broke Katie’s bone and an intramedullary nail was implanted within her thigh bone. On July 2, Souder placed a device on her leg to slowly lengthen her limb through a magnet in the nail within the bone. Over the next few months, the leg will be lengthened each day until the two-inch length is reached.

Enhanced surgery, less pain, better results

“This approach is much different than how these procedures were done in the past,” said Dr. Souder. “Before, patients would require pins in the bone that would protrude from the skin and attach to an external bar.”

“We are very grateful and excited about this limb lengthening procedure. This is the best option for Katie,” said Katie’s mother Jena Procter. “Because of her injury and past surgeries, Katie was not able to participate in many activities.”

Katie will soon return to a more active lifestyle, free from physical limitations. while safely lengthening her leg.