Girl with first-of-its-kind bionic arm to get adjustment

Tampa, Florida -- She has a bionic arm, but it's not slowing 11-year-old Josalyn Kaldenberg from being a kid.

Three years ago, Moffitt Cancer Center surgeon Doug Letson teamed up with Shriners Hospital to help save Josalyn's arm from amputation. She had a large malignant tumor taking up her entire arm that had to be removed. Dr. Letson worked with a newly designed prosthesis to give her a new arm bone including shoulder and elbow. She was the first in the country to have this kind of procedure.

Three years later, she's disease free and doing better than expected, and using the bionic arm to paint, kayak, play the piano and basketball, and ride a three-wheeled bike.

Dr. Letson said she can raise her arm higher than anticipated. On Friday, Dr. Letson will make a small incision to adjust some of the screws to lengthen her arm about a centimeter. She'll periodically need adjustments over the next five years as she grows. They're playing catch up with her nerves and will need about six or seven lengthenings.

Josalyn's family nominated Dr. Letson for the Outstanding Care Award which Josalyn presented to him Wednesday in the form of a glass heart.


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