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CURE Ethiopia Performs First Free Fibula Transfer Surgery

Bawendi is now six years old, but when she was two, she fell from a high chair and broke her lower left leg. As Bawendi got older, her leg became visibly misshapen, and she slowly lost the ability to walk, run, and stand unsupported.


Before surgery at CURE Ethiopia, Bawendi could not play like other children her age


She couldn’t play, go to school, or attend mosque for religious education. Without specialized surgical intervention, her leg would need to be amputated to prevent infection.

Her family was relieved when a local hospital referred them to CURE Ethiopia, where surgeons performed a free fibula transfer. The fibula is the outer and usually smaller of the two bones between the knee and ankle in the lower leg.

The surgery involved harvesting a section of fibular bone from Bawendi’s healthy right leg, with attached arteries and veins, and transferring it to her left leg. The leg was then stabilized with a metal frame. The surgery took all day to complete.


Dr. Tim (left), Dr. Tesfaye (right), and the operating room team drilled an external fixator (metal frame) into Bawendi’s left leg bone to keep it stable while she healed.


Previously, such surgeries were performed at CURE Ethiopia by visiting teams of experts from around the world. Bawendi’s was the first in-house fibula transfer procedure.

Now equipped with the necessary training and equipment, the hospital expects to be able to perform 12 to 15 of these surgeries each year. The innovative surgery is part of CURE Ethiopia’s commitment to providing life-changing care for children with treatable disabilities.


A free fibular transfer is one of the common ways of replacing a fibula that has been damaged or grown abnormally.


Thanks to the generous support of our partners, all surgical care is provided at no cost to children regardless of race, religion, or ability to pay. Please keep Bawendi in your thoughts and consider helping a child waiting for care today by sponsoring their surgery here.



About the CURE Children’s Hospital of Ethiopia

Established in 2008, CURE Ethiopia performs over 2,500 life-changing reconstructive and orthopedic surgeries every year for children suffering from treatable disabilities. Strategically located in the capital city of Addis Ababa, the teaching hospital has 70 beds and four operating rooms. CURE International uses this facility to multiply its efforts by partnering with The College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) to serve as a regional learning institution by implementing an orthopedic pediatric training program at the residency and fellowship levels. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE Ethiopia ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their communities.

Contact Us

CURE Ethiopia provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care to children living with treatable disabilities. Please contact us if you have questions about becoming a patient or a partner with CURE.

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