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Sebastian received an endoprosthesis when he was nine years old. After 21 years, he still remembers that pain

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21 years ago, Mr. Sebastian was a child, nine years old, and he had a malignant tumor of the tibia. Doctors saved his life and his leg by inserting an endoprosthesis that was supposed to grow along with the leg. It was new then. What does Mr. Sebastian think about it today?

You have to look closely to notice that the sole of one shoe is higher because Sebastian Wierzbicki's left leg is four centimeters shorter. This is the only remnant of the surgery from 21 years ago.

21 years ago we talked about Sebastian, then nine years old, who was fighting a malignant tumor of the tibia. Professor Wojciech Woźniak from the Institute of Mother and Child, in order to save his life and leg, had to cut out a piece of the tibia and the entire knee and replace them with an endoprosthesis.

– The amount of pain I went through certainly stayed with me, because there was a lot of pain, but in hindsight I wouldn't change it, because I feel that this past shaped me into who I am now – says Sebastian Wierzbicki today. There was a lot of pain, because Sebastian had to undergo two more endoprosthesis replacement surgeries. Back then, in 2003, the most important thing was that he got rid of cancer and saved his leg. Sebastian still walks today.

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A magnetic bone prosthesis that grew with Sebastian

21 years ago, we showed this operation in “Facts” because it was new at the time: the child received a magnetic bone endoprosthesis that grew with him. The alternatives were a crank prosthesis and leg amputation.

Electromagnetic endoprosthesis for SebastianMaterial of “Fakty” TVN by Marek Nowicki from April 13, 2003.Marek Nowicki/Fakty TVN

– This endoprosthesis, and thus the entire limb, had to be placed in a strong electromagnetic field, in an appropriate tube, and this generated the work of the magnet and servo mechanism and lengthened the entire implant. Incredible material – says Dr. Bartosz Pachuta, a specialist in orthopedics and traumatology from the Institute of Mother and Child in Warsaw, who now, after the late Professor Woźniak, implants endoprostheses in children at the Institute of Mother and Child – of course, much more modern than Mr. Sebastian's.

– Taking into account the patient's age and the available material base at that time, this is an incredible success – admits Dr. Pachuta. – It's really moving to look at what happened over 20 years ago. Now, when we see it after 20 years and see that the patient is healthy and functions normally, it is amazing – comments Professor Anna Raciborska, head of the Department of Oncology and Oncological Surgery for Children and Adolescents at the Institute of Children and Mothers in Warsaw.

Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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