TEL AVIV (Jun. 28)
A bone-stretching procedure offered only in Israel and two other countries will be performed at the Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer in an attempt to add to the height of eight-year-old Jon Gisselson, a child from Iceland who suffers from achondroplastic dwarfism, a genetic disease.
Young Jon, who is not Jewish, is on the government hospital’s pediatric ward with three Israeli children with the same ailment. Doctors hope to add about two feet to his height.
The disease is not responsive to drugs. The long bones of the body fuse too early in life, stunting growth. Victims usually have normal intelligence but a sunken nose, small face and stubby, short limbs.
The procedure has been performed in Italy and Austria. Metal screws are inserted into the leg bones and turned slightly each day for about a month before they are withdrawn. Sheba Hospital has performed it successfully in other cases. While the patients do not attain normal height, they are much taller that untreated dwarfs.
Jon’s parents head about the treatment when he was an infant.
They came to Israel where his father, an engineer, found work in Ashdod.