After losing his knee to cancer, a teenager had his amputated foot reattached backward to help him walk again.
Tristin Stewart, 15, of Northern Ireland, has no right shin after undergoing a revolutionary operation known as rotationplasty. Instead, his right thigh connects directly to a rotated right foot that fits more comfortably into his prosthetic than a traditional amputation.
“At the start it was uncomfortable and I wasn’t used to it because of the weight and my foot — you know, it felt weird — but now I’m used to it,” Stewart told Caters News. “It feels close to normal.”
Stewart said he began experiencing crippling pain in his right leg in 2014, but it was not until last year that doctors diagnosed it as synovial sarcoma, an aggressive form of soft tissue cancer.
The diagnosis and subsequent surgery were devastating to Tristin’s parents, Mandy and Shane.
“Tristin was initially scared before the operation,” Mandy said. “When we went in to see him after the operation, you could see under the covers that his leg was gone, and Shane and I were nervous to see what was underneath. It was a very strange sight and it was something almost supernatural to see, but it saved my boy so that’s all that matters.”
But thanks to the rare procedure, a first in Northern Ireland, the soccer-loving teen is already back on his feet just months after the surgery
“I can walk with it and I’ve started a jog,” Tristin said. “Without it, I’d be in a wheelchair. I wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
The family is now raising money to buy Stewart a blade so he can participate in sports and more physical activities with his buddies.
“Friends have been very good, they haven’t treated me differently,” Stewart said. “It was just an operation. They have been treating me the same.”