Moving body tissue from one limb to the next

Gaithersburg, Md. (WUSA9) -- Certain body parts tend to wear out with age, and the achilles tendon is one of them. A local man has a brand new achilles, by having tissue moved from another part of the body.

74 year-old David Lingrell of Gaithersburg and his wife, Janet have been married for 52 years. They have put lots of fun in their lives over the years by dancing, traveling the country, and participating in ballroom dancing competitions.

Recently, he had to make a comeback to the dance floor to the dance floor. His achilles tendon wore out a few years ago, making it difficult to walk.

Lingrell says, "There were tears and things in that tendon, it needed to be repaired."

His initial surgery to repair the tendon didn't go so well. His foot became infected.

"The incision opened up more and more," adds Lingrell.

Then he saw Dr. Karen Evans and her team at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, where they performed a different type of reconstruction.

Dr. Evans says, "The first stage of that is really to debride the wound, get everything cleaned because you can't reconstruct anything or close the wound with infection inside there."

After cleaning the wound, they actually cut a piece of tendon in his thigh. This became his new achilles tendon. This procedure is called a flap surgery.

Dr. Evans says, "In his case we can actually take a swath of the tissue, roll it up like a burrito underneath the skin and make a new tendon."

This worked well for David, over time he was back to doing the Rumba and dancing the night away.

"I started with a Rumba, the Rumba is very low impact, very slow. There are a lot of moves in it but it is very easy. In the words of the doctor, 'that's as good as any therapy that I could find.' Then I went on to waltzs, foxtrots, and cha-cha's," says Lingrell.


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