Maia of Suwanee, Ga., is passionate about dancing. She was upset when she started feeling sharp pains in her legs during practice. After a visit with her pediatrician, Maia had X-rays taken at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. When she was diagnosed with bone cancer in her left leg, she wondered how many more leaps and twirls she would be able to make. Maia began chemotherapy at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Her doctors soon determined that the tumor, located just above her knee, would need to be removed. Surgeons operated on Maia to remove the tumor. Unfortunately, due to the growth of the tumor, they also had to take out part of her femur bone, leaving Maia in need of a prosthetic leg.
With the permission and support of Maia’s family, a Children’s orthopaedic surgeon decided to use a new type of expandable prosthesis for Maia. The prosthetic piece, the first of its kind used in Georgia, has an electromagnetic sensor enabling it to lengthen. This eliminates the need for additional surgery as Maia grows and allows her to keep the natural appearance of her leg, while also providing her the ability to walk unassisted.
During Maia’s follow-up appointments she sometimes has bone density scans. These scans use a special camera to measure bone strength and to look for other masses that may be a problem down the road. Maia is very comfortable talking about her prosthesis and feels pretty proud to be able to say she is “the first.” She has a skip back in her step and is once again dazzling on the dance floor.