Pioneering surgery in Sheffield

A 17-year-old girl from Grimsby has become the youngest person in the UK to have a pioneering treatment which should add 6cms to one of her legs using magnets hidden in the bone.

Grimsby teenager has leg lengthened by magnets

A teenager from Grimsby has become the youngest person in the country to have pioneering surgery to lengthen one of her legs by using magnets.

Sophie Lewis suffers from a pelvic deformity which leaves her in pain and forces her to walk on tip toes on her right leg. Now though, her bones are being grown by manipulating magnets and she's added around four centimetres to her leg since June.

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Picture: Hidden magnets to lengthen Sophie's leg

Sophie Lewis, from Grimsby, had a rod remote controlled by magnets implanted into her leg Credit: Calendar

A 17-year-old girl has become the youngest girl in the UK to have a pioneering treatment, which is set to add 6cms to one of her legs using magnets hidden in the bone.

Sophie Lewis, from Grimsby, had a rod remote controlled by magnets implanted into her leg bone during a four hour operation by specialist orthopaedic surgeons at The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield.

Surgeon: 'Hopefully we can treat more children in this way'

Mr James Fernandes, an orthopaedic surgeon at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, carried out the operation on Sophie.

It’s been fantastic to be able to perform this operation on the youngest person so far. This new technology we’re using is very advanced. We are starting to be able to use this on patients who are younger and younger. The nails have now been modified to the growing child.

Our centre is known internationally for its orthopaedic work. We advise and treat hundreds of children every year with limb abnormalities and are a major centre for training the next generation of paediatric orthopaedic surgeons. Hopefully now we can treat more children in this way reducing the pain and recovery time.”

– Mr James Fernandes

Sophie: This operation will help me 'beat the pain'

I was worried and excited because I knew I was the youngest person to have this surgery. But I had a lot of confidence in the surgeon. I’m just looking forward now to getting on with my life. The doctors decided it was better for me to have this operation because I'm hoping to be a spinal surgeon so I'll spend the majority of my time standing up. If they lengthen my leg it will mean the pain should subside everywhere else.

I did want to be a dance teacher but then I got really interested in orthopaedic surgery and now i'd like to be a surgeon. I think it's important there's someone understanding what patients are trying to say.

We’ve been to conferences and met a few people who know about my condition but no one has seen anything like it. The doctors in Sheffield have been fantastic and I’m really glad they recommended me for this operation so I can beat the pain.”

– Sophie Lewis

Sophie is first teen in the UK to have pioneering surgery to help her bone grow

Sophie tries out the magnet controlled device which will help her bone grow

Sophie was born with a pelvic deformity which means her legs were not aligned properly. One hip almost touched her rib cage and she was having to take 13 pain killers a day. She was also struggling to walk because of the pain.

The device inserted in her bone will allow her, without pain, to lengthen her own leg 1mm a day over 60 days by hovering magnets over key points in the bone.

Just 330 of these operations have been done in the world so far and only 10 in the UK all on adults.

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Magnets hidden in bones will help teen grow 6cms

Sophie Lewis

A 17-year-old girl has become the youngest girl theUK to have a pioneering treatment set to add 6cms to one of her legs using magnets hidden in the bone.

Sophie Lewis, from Grimsby, had a rod remote controlled by magnets implanted into her leg bone during a four hour operation by specialist orthopaedic surgeons at The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield.

The device means, without any pain, Sophie can lengthen her own leg 1mm a day over 60 days by hovering magnets over key points in the bone.

The teen has a pelvic deformity as well as scoliosis discovered by doctors in Sheffield when they did a 3D scan on her skeleton.