Limb lengthening is an orthopedic technique that is used to correct limb length or leg length discrepancies. This is known to be a revolutionary technique that is helpful in correcting congenital diseases like the congenital short femur. This surgical technique requires the use of an external fixator system and other orthopedic devices. This is generally done to increase the length of a limb by promoting new bone formation with a process known as distraction osteogenesis.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Limb Lengthening Surgery?
Limb lengthening surgery aims at increasing the length of a limb (generally upper or lower leg) to correct discrepancies. This surgical procedure is carried out with the help of the ability of the body to regenerate bones, blood vessels, nerves, and soft tissues when “distraction” is done. Distraction osteogenesis is a process where the bone that needs to be lengthened is cut surgically and the bone fragments are stabilized with the help of orthopedic implants like rail type fixator or Ilizarov external fixator. After that, the bone fragments are separated gradually to create a gap in between and start the formation of a new bone.
How Painful is Limb Lengthening Surgery?
Surgeries are undoubtedly painful, but the pain is managed by giving anesthesia to the patient. Besides this, once the surgery is performed prescription medication is also indicated to curb pain. But there is no need to worry about the pain as the surgery is performed under controlled conditions and after making the patient comfortable.
How much a Bone can be Lengthened with Limb Lengthening Surgery?
Around 2 inches is the normal length that can be increased during each limb lengthening surgery. Now, when it comes to leg lengthening surgery, both the femur and the tibia can be lengthened 2 inches simultaneously. Thus, a total of 4 inches can be increased in the case of leg surgery.
Is it Possible to Run after Leg Lengthening Surgery?
It takes a bit of time for the newly formed bone to consolidate and heal. Once the bone and muscles have regained proper strength & flexibility, the person can perform almost all the physical activities he/she was enjoying like sports.
Is the Surgery Safe to be Performed?
Limb lengthening surgery is known to be a safe procedure and has very low complications associated. One of the major risks with this procedure is no growth of the new bone in the gap created. In such a case, the bone that has been cut is rejoined and the lengthening procedure is tried again. Other associated risks may include bleeding and infection. These risks are common with almost all surgical procedures, so, there is nothing different with limb lengthening surgery.
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