Rare surgery may give little boy a normal life
WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- He suffers from a rare
birth defect. But soon, a little boy will undergo surgery
that may give him a chance at a normal life.
It will be performed by a world-renowned surgeon who
has just moved his practice to West Palm Beach.
Like most three-year-olds, Jabari Leake is very active.
He likes to run. But unlike most kids, he was born with
a congenitally short femur, so his right leg is almost
four inches shorter than his left.
Jabari's parents did not want to go with amputation.
|DR. PALEY'S MEDIA SECTION
Instead, he uses special shoes to keep his legs even until Monday, when Jabari is scheduled to
undergo a unique surgery.
"The worldwide web," said Jabari's mother, Tosha Leake. "That's all I have to say because Paley is
That's where she found Dr. Dror Paley, who just made a deal with Saint Mary's Medical Center to
run the new "Paley Advanced Limb Lengthening Institute" in West Palm Beach.
"A facility like this," said Paley. "There's only like one other in the country. It's the one I came
Jabari already had a super knee and super hip surgery last year, to prepare him for the big day.
On Monday, Dr. Paley will place an external device with screw-like pins onto Jabari's right leg, a
minimally invasive surgery that will lengthen his bone about 3 1/4 inches.
Two additional surgeries every four to five years will allow Jabari's right leg to keep up with his left.
"If we didn't do anything and left him until he was fully grown at age 16 he'd have about a ten inch
difference between his legs," Paley said.
If the surgeries are successful, Jabari won't need special shoes or any other aides by the time he
starts high school.
"This is going to totally change Jabari's life," said Paley. "He's going to be a completely able-bodied
Jabari's condition happens to one in a quarter million babies. To beat those odds would be a
life-changing accomplishment for just about everyone involved.
"He's going to be happy," said Leake. "He's going to be thanking us for having him go through the
So he could have an even chance on his walk through life.
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A 3-year old boy is recovering in the hospital after undergoing a state of the art limb lengthening to
help extend one of his legs, so that it could match up, in length, to his other leg.
Jabari Leake, who lives in Columbus Georgia with his parents was brought to West Palm Beach to
undergo the unique state of the art procedure at the brand new Limb Lengthening Institute at St.
Mary's Medical Center.
The little boy underwent the surgery on Monday. He first had his right thigh bone broken and was
then outfitted with a device that will be used to lengthen the two broken bones every day, for the
next eight months.
On Wednesday Jabari was standing, using his little walker, and anxious to start walking. His parents
say he is recovering faster than expected and are hopeful that the next eight months will not be all too
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Follow up June 3, 2009:
Limb lengthening surgery for 3-year old performed at St. Mary's
Dror Paley, MD, FRCSC
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