Boy has shoulder made from elbow
29 August 2008 17:55 UK
A teenage cancer patient has undergone successful surgery to rebuild his shoulder using his elbow.
Tom Lemm, 15, from Pontefract, had his left arm amputated by surgeons at Leeds General Hospital because of a tumour at the top of the limb.
Doctors used tissue and muscle from his unaffected elbow to create a new shoulder in what is believed to be the first UK operation of its kind.
Tom's surgeon said the shoulder would be able to support an artificial arm.
In the operation, the whole arm and the shoulder joint were removed. The surgeons then used the elbow joint and tissue from the arm to reconstruct a shoulder joint.
A metal plate was then inserted into Tom's collar bone, and the new joint grafted on to the area where his shoulder was.
Professor Kay told the BBC: "The most awful thing for an upper limb reconstructive surgeon to do is to remove an arm - it's a dreadful thing to do.
"But by using the bits that would be discarded, you can pluck a little bit of comfort."
He said Tom's new shoulder will be able to support an artificial limb. "This will be a tremendous advantage."
'I hope it gives hope'
The first operation of this kind was carried out by a team in Japan, but Professor Kay said he believed this was the first time this has been done in the UK or Europe."
A spokesman for the hospital said: "We are delighted Tom is making a good recovery and that he is pleased with the outcome of the specialised surgery undertaken by the team here at Leeds General Infirmary.
"We wish him well and look forward to seeing how he is progressing on his next visit."
Tom, who has had cancer for three years, told the Sun newspaper: "I was very upset at losing my arm but then the prof told me what he planned to do. "I hope the fact it has worked for me gives others hope."