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news News Monday, December 23, 2019 Monday, December 23, 2019 1:57 PM - Monday, December 23, 2019 1:57 PM

Meet Arlo

Arlo’s parents find Lexington Shriners Medical Center through Facebook

Meet Arlo

The day their beautiful baby boy was born, Emily and Tyler found themselves learning that, based on X-rays, their son Zachary (who everyone calls Arlo) was missing the fibula (long bone) in his leg. Like any parents who learn of a new medical condition, Emily and Tyler took to the internet. They researched at length the definition, treatment and procedures available for children with fibular hemimelia. Based on their research, they concluded that Shriners Hospitals for Children would offer their son the best care with the most experienced doctors.

Once Tyler and Emily determined that Shriners Hospitals for Children was the best health care system for their son, the next task was to select the right Shriners Hospital location. Tyler and Emily were willing to travel if it meant that Arlo had a physician and prosthetist that he would be comfortable with and trust for years to come. One day while on Facebook, Emily landed on information regarding Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington and Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) – Midwest, LLC, located within the facilty. Emily was so impressed with what she read that she immediately made an appointment to meet with Vishwas Talwalkar, M.D., pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.

“We traveled four hours for our appointment with Dr. Talwalkar and were overly impressed with his knowledge and bedside manner,” said Emily. “We left that first appointment with a scheduled surgery date because we loved everything about Lexington Shriners Medical Center and Dr. Talwalkar!”

At Arlo’s first appointment, Dr. Talwalkar recommended that Arlo undergo an amputation. He felt confident that he would be able to keep Arlo’s calcaneus (heel bone). “Keeping as much of the leg as possible was very important to us,” Emily said.

Dr. Talwalkar scheduled the amputation surgery for July 25, 2019. Emily and Tyler reflected back to the days and weeks leading up to the surgery and stated that it was an incredibly difficult experience. Arlo’s parents had professional pictures taken to include the foot that was to be amputated, and had molds and prints made to show him one day.

“The day of surgery was the most difficult day of our lives. Having to turn our boy over for a major surgery was incredibly hard. However, we knew he was in good hands,” said Emily.

The surgery went well and Dr. Talwalkar was able to keep the heel bone, but Arlo did struggle when coming out surgery. He dealt with a lot of pain and did not like having the cast on his hips and legs.

Five weeks after surgery, Dr. Talwalkar removed the cast and had the POPS department measure Arlo for his first prosthetic leg. In November, Arlo’s prosthetic leg arrived, and within two weeks he was walking all over the place for the first time ever!

“Arlo hasn’t looked back. He is all over the place and loves wearing his leggy!” Emily said.

Many expecting parents do not ever consider that they might find themselves with a child that needs to have a limb amputated. Emily and Tyler were those parents, and they state that their best advice to the next parent and family in their shoes is to join support groups, gather many opinions and research as much as possible, and know that your child will amaze you through this process.

“We know that Arlo may have more procedures in the future and are confident in Dr. Talwalkar’s suggestions on how to give Arlo the best life possible!” said Emily.

Arlo with staff member