LONDON: Doctors have, in a groundbreaking operation, managed to save a woman’s leg with stem cells after it was shattered in a hit-and-run accident.
Diane Stuttard had her lower left leg broken when a car hit her while she walked home after a night out in 2001.
Both the tibia and fibula were shattered and she faced having the leg amputated after 11 operations.
However, she contacted Anan Shetty, an orthopaedic surgeon, after seeing a TV report about him using stem cells to save the leg of a climber, the Telegraph reported.
During her operation at the private Spire Alexandra Hospital in Chatham, Kent, Britain, stem cells taken from her bone marrow were mixed with a gel called Surgifill, which trapped the cells against the fracture.
Within days, they started to form healthy new bone, healing the leg.Surgeons also lengthened her leg at a rate of almost half-an-inch a month.
Although it is not the first time stem cells have been used in bone reconstruction, it is the first time the combination of stem cells, Surgifill and the leg lengthening technique has been used anywhere in the world.
She said: “I was advised to have the leg amputated but thankfully I said I wanted to wait until I had exhausted all avenues. I’m glad I did because this stem cell technique has come up and now it’s my chance to get it right.”
The doctors and patient will have to wait 18 months before they can be sure the leg has healed properly.