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News Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Leg lengthening ensures Connor’s bright smile never fades

Connor Maine was born with his right leg five inches shorter than the left. Parents, Meagan and Andy Maine, were left wondering what to do when a doctor at Mercy Hospital St. Louis suggested contacting Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Connor had his first appointment at 6 months old. Doctors monitored his progress and every six months he received a new shoe lift and AFO (ankle-foot orthosis) braces. When Connor turned 5, Chief of Staff Perry Schoenecker, M.D., suggested a lengthening process involving multiple surgeries and external fixator spatial frames that Connor would wear for months at a time.

Dr. Schoenecker performed a hip surgery on Connor in January 2013. After that surgery, Connor began seeing J. Eric Gordon, M.D., for the leg lengthening process. He had multiple surgeries and fixator frames that lengthened the shorter leg.

Now at age 9, Connor is finally finished with the frames and will be free of constriction until his legs grow. In a few years, he might have to endure another hip surgery and internal rod lengthening until both legs are completely even. Once both legs are even, doctors will perform a fusion surgery that will stop the growth of both legs.

Connor has visited the hospital so often, Meagan often has a difficult time getting him to leave. “Connor absolutely loves coming here, they make it so much fun for him that he doesn’t want to go back home,” she said. “They make childhood a part of their treatment.”

Connor is a patient ambassador and has given speeches to the public and his peers about his care at the hospital. His dad became a Shriner last year, continuing the legacy of giving back to the wonderful organization that helped their family so much.

Learn more about orthopaedic care available at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis.