Jon and Helen arrive with their beloved chocolate Labrador, eleven-year-old Brandi. They already know that she has bone cancer in the femur (thigh bone) of one of her back legs, and that limb amputation may be the eventual outcome, but they are concerned that she is now refusing to walk and so visit Fitzpatrick’s cancer hospital for tests before consulting with Noel about their options for limb salvage.
The good news is that Brandi’s chondrosarcoma is less aggressive than other forms of bone cancer that she could have and so far, the cancer cells have not been detected elsewhere. Noel discusses Brandi’s options: either full limb amputation, or he could give her a custom-made bionic total knee replacement, never performed before. The extraordinary two-and-a-half-hour procedure involves cutting out part of the femur with the tumour inside it; attaching a bespoke metal implant to the femur with screws, into which bone will grow; and inserting a second custom implant into the tibia, before finally articulating the new joint with a polyethylene bushing on a peg and axle system.
With the surgical part of Brandi’s journey over, she still faces the long and challenging road of rehabilitation, to enable her leg to work normally again.