Procedure helps child grow missing fingers -

Surgery helps child grow fingers

Ten little fingers and 10 little toes. It's what every new parent expects to see when a child is born.

But that wasn't the case for a Pennsylvania family.

Little Andrew arrived missing fingers and a thumb and was unable to use his hand. After a number of dead ends, they found hope in a procedure that will literally grow new fingers for their son.
"Now he has a grasp and a pinch that he never had or never would have had at all," says Andrew's mom, Laurie Bowers.
Cleveland Clinic's Dr. William Seitz began treating Andrew when he was just six months old. The procedure is called distraction lengthening. After transplanting bones to the hand, functional fingers ‘grow' when bone regenerates itself after a series of small fractures are made several times each day by turning small screws connected to each finger.   

"What we did was remove a little bit of bone from his hand over here to create a thumb, and then we put some additional bone which we harvested from his foot, to the other fingers to make the beginnings of a thumb and three fingers," Dr. Seitz explains. 

Doing well after his fifth surgery, Andrew and his parents are happy with the progress he's made.

"We're just trying to give him a brighter future and make life a little bit easier and if we can do those little things as parents, I think he'll be okay," says Mike Bowers, Andrew's father.
Andrew will need additional surgery in the future, but Dr. Seitz anticipates that one day he will have a ‘power grasp', and even be able to play sports.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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