Liz: Growing inch by inch

Published on: 02/12/2024

Five centimeters. For many, five centimeters is only but a small unit of measurement, but for Liz, age 10, these five centimeters have completely changed her life. Because of her short arms, Liz was completely dependent on her mother to eat, bathe, and get dressed.

But thanks to limb lengthening surgery performed by Dr. Daniel Ruggles, pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s Orthopedic, Sports Medicine, and Spine Institute, Liz is a new girl.

“She is now able to comb her hair, bathe herself, brush her teeth and feed herself meals, says her mother, Regla. “She is able to carry her bookbag to school. It is the little things,” she says.

Liz smiles while holding a bookLiz is a budding actress and singer and is not shy performing on stage. Born with a condition called achondroplasia, also known as short stature, this condition impacts the growth of bone in the limbs, causing short arms and legs.
The limb lengthening operation involves the placement of growing rods in the bone that can be magnetically moved. The magnetic rods are then monitored and adjusted in the office setting for a series of six months. For those six months, Liz had to avoid swimming and any strenuous activities that could impact her growing device. But it was all well worth it.
“She is a completely different little girl who now relishes these simple tasks that many of us take for granted,” says Regla. “For Liz, this has been a huge step towards being more independent, and for that we are forever grateful.”

Liz with Dr. Ruggles

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