TEN-year-old Luca Railton is preparing for a third major operation to save his leg – a year and a half after facing amputation.
The Cricklade schoolboy, who was born with no bone in his right knee, no right tibia and only a partial left tibia due to a rare condition called bilateral tibial hemimelia, will undergo further surgery on Wednesday to lengthen his femur.
Luca flew to Florida with his parents in March to receive life-changing leg surgery. On May 28, he underwent another operation.
This month he was able to walk with his feet flat on the ground for the first time. He also bought his first pair of regular shoes as a result.
Despite the prospect of another painful procedure, Luca has been full of positivity.
“Luca will have a small operation on July 2, to carry out the lengthening,” said his mum, Teresa.
“Luca is continuing to make excellent progress with his walking and his swimming. His positive spirit remains and as a result our days in Florida are filled with much joy and happiness. His legs look lovely and straight and his walking is coming along slowly.
“It was lovely to buy him shoes the other day without worry about would the splints fit in them and now going forward we won’t have to think about a raise too. So, all in all things are going to plan.
“Luca plucked up the courage to get back in the pool. This was such a wonderful thing as it means that we can spend quality time by the pool and have lots of fun.”
In February 2013, the Railtons were told by NHS doctors they would have no other option but to amputate his right leg or fuse it straight.
But American surgeon Dr Dror Paley told the family he could save Luca’s leg.
Teresa and dad Alex, spent the following months raising the £135,000 needed for the operation. They have so far collected nearly £100,000.
The lengthening process was initially scheduled to take place during his second operation but did not go ahead. This was lucky, according to Teresa, as it has since emerged that his femur needed to be lengthened and not, as previously thought, his fibula.
“The procedure was not done in the last operation,” she said. “The omission actually ended up being serendipitous as it was the femur that needs lengthening and not the fibula.
“The fact of the matter is Dr Paley, for whatever reason, did not carry out the lengthening and over the past week it was discovered that it was good that it did not happen as it would have been the wrong bone.
“I have a lot of faith and I do believe throughout our journey with Luca he has had a guardian angel looking out for him. As a result we are now back on track and the lengthening will now happen on the right bone.
“Once the procedure has happened the lengthening will happen daily for two months.
“Once complete the leg will need to heal for a further two months in the frame. During this time Luca will continue to have physio. This will take us to the end of October/early November when Luca will then have a procedure to have the frame removed.”