COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – There are as many as two million amputees in the United States. Many are fitted with prosthetic limbs that improve their mobility. But as many as 50 percent of all amputees have a difficult time wearing their prosthetic. Now, a new procedure is making a world of a difference for those living with limb loss.
Thirty-one-year-old Broc Potts feels at home working with his hands. But standing was painful until recently. Potts is a survivor of childhood cancer of the bone. During treatment as a teen, Potts suffered a life-threatening infection.
“They amputated me above the knee because the infection, it was growing so rapidly,” Potts tells Ivanhoe.
For almost a decade, Potts’s old prosthetic rubbed against his residual leg until it was raw.
Potts emphasizes, “Every step I took, it was a stinging, burning and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Joel Mayerson, MD, orthopedic oncologist at the OSU James Comprehensive Cancer Center, had a solution – a new prosthetic procedure known as osseointegration.
“Osseointegration allows us to put a metal bar inside someone’s bone,” Dr. Mayerson explains.
Surgeons then carefully close the area around the bar to prevent infection, leaving a small connection exposed.
Dr. Mayerson says, “Instead of having a socket, like a shoe, we can have a prosthetic leg that just snaps the same way that you would snap a drill bit into a drill.”
“There’s nothing touching outside of my leg. Like, there was that socket giving me blisters. So, this is a whole new feeling,” Potts expresses.
Potts says he’s used to beating the odds. After 30 rounds of chemo, doctors told him he’d be infertile. Now, he’s the head of a full household – ages nine months to nine years.
“I faced doctors saying I couldn’t have kids and now, I have five. But that’s quits for me,” Potts shares.
But he won’t quit when it comes to improving his health and mobility.
Dr. Mayerson says the osseointegration procedure could eventually be combined with a surgery called targeted muscle reinnervation, a nerve surgery that when combined with special electrical connections allows for more intuitive movement of prosthetic limbs.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.