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Patient with Rare Bone Disease Thankful after Recent Orthopedic Surgery|
One in every 150,000 babies are born with congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia
ARLINGTON, Texas – When Patrice Taylor was less than a year old, she was placed in foster care because of unexplained injuries. Authorities thought her parents were abusing her. Then clinicians later diagnosed her with a rare bone disease that affects one in every 150,000 babies at birth – congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia, or CPT.
“I’m glad I don’t remember any of it, because I know that was hard on my parents,” said 23-year-old Taylor. “Not knowing what was wrong with me, and then to have me taken away was terrible.”
CPT is classified as one of the most difficult childhood diseases to treat, experts say. When a child with CPT has a spontaneous fracture, usually happening before the age of two, the fracture fails to heal properly. This can lead to multiple surgeries, severe disability, deformity and possible amputation.
Taylor fractured her tibia around the age of one and broke the same leg bone in the sixth grade. Her birth defect led to more than four surgeries in hopes of helping her right leg heal properly.
“For people suffering from CPT, you’ll see what looks like a floppy leg bent inward,” said Dr. Joseph Borrelli, orthopedic department chair at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and orthopedic surgeon with Texas Health Physicians Group. “Some patients even have a bow-legged look about them.”
“I had been walking around with a broken leg for years,” said Patrice. “I could only walk a few steps before I was in severe pain.”
But in late March, something unexpected happened. Taylor’s excruciating pain came to an end, almost immediately.
“It’s called an intramedullary nailing, in this case augmented with an iliac crest bone graft,” Borrelli said. During the two-hour procedure, Borrelli harvested a bone graft from her pelvis. “We use a mechanism that scrapes bone from the pelvis. To diminish the possibility of injury, we stop before reaching the inner table of the pelvis.” The bone shavings from Taylor’s pelvis were then mixed with bone morphogenetic protein (BMP). BMPs are considered implants, with the protein solution used to stimulate bone growth. Borrelli also inserted a rod into Patrice’s tibia, securing it with four screws. The BMP mixed with bone graft was placed at the previous nonunion site.
“When I woke up after surgery, the pain was gone,” Taylor said. “I didn’t even take the pain medication they prescribed me.”
Taylor says the surgery has boosted her self-confidence and body image. In the past, she didn’t like showing her legs. “I used to always wear pants, but now I plan to wear dresses and skirts whenever I can.”
Taylor’s improved quality of life changed more than just her physical appearance. “People would always tell me that the surgeries were a big risk, and that scared me,” she said. “I’m no longer afraid, and now I tell people they should never be fearful of taking a chance. I could have still been walking around in pain, but I’m not.”
With a new outlook on life, Taylor plans to achieve several goals in the near future. “I want to run and jog and be more active,” she said. “I can’t wait to join the gym and work out with my younger brother. I’m so much happier now.”
To learn more about orthopedic services offered at Texas Health Arlington Memorial, visit TexasHealth.org/arlington-ortho.
About Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital
About Texas Health Physicians Group
Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.