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news News Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:42 AM - Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:42 AM

Surgery reduces leg length discrepancy

Surgery reduces leg length discrepancy

Some angels wear their halos above their heads. Keanu, however, is an angel who wears his halo – aka the Ilizarov apparatus – to help lengthen the bones in his left leg, thanks to the doctors and staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu. Keanu was born with one leg shorter than the other.

“He inspires others every day but he doesn’t grasp that,” said Alisha, Keanu’s mom. “I’ll read him things that people say on my Facebook posts about how much his story has touched them and helped them through difficult times and so many other things, but he just smiles and shrugs it off.”

Alisha believes Keanu’s attitude has much to do with how matter-of-fact the Shriners Hospital staff are with everything going on.

“They always make sure Keanu is part of the conversation and ask him if he has any questions or concerns,” she said.

Shortly after Keanu was born, his parents found out that his left leg was about 5.7 centimeters – about 2.25 inches – shorter than his right leg, and his foot was smaller. When their military physician at Tripler Army Medical Center was leaving her post, she recommended that Keanu go to the Honolulu Shriners Hospital for care.

So far, his orthopaedic surgeon has added 4.3 centimeters to Keanu’s leg length, so the difference now is around 1.4 centimeters, or about half an inch. The current treatment calls for Keanu to have another surgery when he is 15 or 16 to do an internal lengthening of his femur. Then his legs will be close to equal lengths the rest of his life.

Alisha said Keanu, 8, gets excited to work with the staff at Shriners Hospital because he is involved in his care and discussions of his future life. So far, Keanu has faced two surgeries, including one to remove two wires from his frame.

Keanu's family has been to several hospitals across the globe for his care, but Alisha says nothing compares to the Honolulu Shriners Hospital. “Shriners has far exceeded our expectations,” said Alisha. "There truly are not words to express what every Shriners employee we’ve come in contact with has done for us," Alisha said, holding back tears.

“From the entire medical staff, to the ladies at the front desk, to the amazing physical therapists – especially Michele, to the people who cleaned our room while we stayed after surgery, to the security guards who kept us safe, to the kitchen staff who worked to make his meals just a little more special, to the rock-star recreational therapist, to the X-ray staff who always greets us with huge smiles. Each one has made an incredible impact on our lives and we are forever grateful,” said Alisha.

Keanu with a visitor