A team of doctors from the UK making news for reattaching a young girl’s amputated leg the wrong way. This may seem like an abysmal case of medical negligence, but it is the farthest thing from. The doctors intentionally attached a 7-year-old year old cancer survivor Amelia Eldred’s leg backwards so that she can enjoy an active lifestyle, instead of living with the complications of an amputation.

The little girl from England was suffering from osteosarcoma a type of bone cancer in her left femur, and her left leg had to be amputated as part of the treatment. But the doctors went ahead and tried an unusual method by removing the middle part of her leg and then reattaching the lower part of her leg backwards. They carried out a procedure known as rotationplasty where Amelia’s leg was amputated high above on her thigh. Then they attached her lower leg the wrong way so that her left heel will be at the same level as her right knee serves as a knee joint. Her left foot can be now fit inside a prosthetic leg.

What is Rotationplasty?

Rotationplasty is a reconstruction of the lower limb where it is rotated through an arc of 180 degrees. After the rotation, the rotated ankle works as a knee joint for the amputee. The surgery also helps in easy attachment of the prosthetics, which will allow the person to bend their limbs at the knees.

But the procedure gives satisfactory results only in selected patients. For rotationplasty to happen, the doctors have to ensure that the patient has an intact sciatic nerve. It is usually prescribed for younger patients with tumours above the knee like Amelia and for older patients with large lesions who cannot go in for limb salvage surgery.

The unusual surgery will allow Amelia, who aspired to be a ballet dancer, to continue with her dreams. Rotationplasty gives a new lease of life to children and adults who have to get their legs amputated. It helps young children like Amelia maintain their highly active lifestyle. Another advantage is that the surgery prevents phantom limb pain, a condition seen in most amputees where they feel pain and sensation in the part where their limb once was.

While the doctors were lauded for their resourcefulness, little Amelia has also been winning hearts everywhere with her pluck and positivity. Despite being through such a life-changing procedure early on in her life, the 7-year-old has not lost her zeal for life and is looking forward to continuing with her dance once the prosthetic leg is fitted. Friends and well-wishers are now contributing towards procuring a prosthetic leg for Amelia which may cost around £30,000.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 28, 2018 09:41 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).