My leg is “better than it ever has been”

When an old childhood injury threatened to interfere with his junior golf career, Tobin Niblett found the solution in a limb lengthening procedure. Tobin recalls how the leg length discrepancy happened: “I broke my leg in 2009. I was in sixth grade, and I was trying to jump a park bench. About two years later, we noticed that my left leg was two to three inches shorter than my right leg.”

A friend referred Tobin and his family to Dr. Dror Paley, in West Palm Beach, Florida. “We went down there, and he saw us,” recalls Tobin, “and he was like, you’re the perfect candidate for the internal device.”

Dr. Paley explained that because Tobin’s legs had finished growing, he chose to lengthen the shorter left leg to match the right leg. “Instead of the way lengthening was done when I first started, with external fixators, we used the Precice nail, which is the newest generation of implantable limb lengthening technology.”

Tobin is a golfer on the professional junior circuit. Knowing that resuming his sports career with minimal down time was important, Dr. Paley focused on achieving the surgical goal of leg extension “within the framework of getting him back to his sport as quickly as possible.”

“He had the surgery, was in the hospital very short time; just a couple of days,” recalls Dr. Paley, “and then started the process of lengthening with the device.”

Tobin added: “We lengthened a millimeter a day for 42 days and we had to be dedicated to doing that every day, but you also had to do three to four sessions of physical therapy.”

Tobin recognized that his limb lengthening program would require commitment. He recalls needing to give “110% on the physical therapy if I wanted to get back and playing golf the way I wanted to be.”

Dr. Paley says, “The lengthening process itself is not necessarily painful, but a lot of the stretching exercises are painful.”

Tobin was ready to tackle that challenge: “The physical therapy, you got to push through it, really stretching the muscles because you got to keep the muscles at the same length, or longer than you had them before.”

Tobin, says Dr. Paley, “really sailed through you it, he really had no problems, did great. And then once he finished all the lengthening, he went back to Texas and sent me x-rays until the bone was healed.”

While being careful not to overdo it, Tobin says, “I definitely wanted to push it to a point where I could get back on the golf course. Frankly the leg now, it’s better than it ever has been.”

There were some emotional highs and lows on this journey, Tobin recalls, “At the beginning, I questioned myself, why is this happening to me. [Dr. Paley] helped me get through that time in my life. I can’t say enough good things about him. He is the genius when it comes to leg lengthening.”

Looking back, Tobin is more than pleased with the outcome: “Precice was the best option for me. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”