Limb Lengthening Surgery revolves around the body’s capacity to form new bone along with soft tissues, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves. Limb Lengthening Surgery begins with a procedure called osteotomy in which the bone that needs to be lengthened is cut. The limb is then stabilized using screws and plates or other fixation devices.
The next step towards Limb Lengthening Surgery is the recovery phase. This is done in two parts. The first part is the distraction phase of recovery. In this phase, the bone which is cut is gently pulled apart. This process promotes new bone growth at the site of the osteotomy.
While Limb Lengthening Surgery is basically used for correction of limb length discrepancy in the lower extremities, there have been cases where Limb Lengthening Surgery has been used for the upper extremities as well. This is especially true for patients with genetic conditions, which make them very short in stature with very short arms and legs.
Additionally, Limb Lengthening Surgery can be of benefit for those individuals who are at risk of losing a limb due to a trauma, missing tissues, infections, or a tumor. Such a surgery is also called as salvage procedure. The success rate of such a procedure is quite variable and not all surgeries to salvage the limb are successful.
Other than this, the overall success rate for a Limb Lengthening Surgery is above 95%. Postsurgery scarring is extremely minimal in cases of Limb Lengthening Surgery as the incisions made are very small in such procedures.
Once new bone growth starts, then the external fixation device is adjusted accordingly to provide space for the new bone growth. As the space between the bones opens up and new bone starts to fill in the limb length increases to the desired length.
There is no age limit as to qualifying for a Limb Lengthening Surgery. Individuals in their 20s, 30s, or even 50s are eligible to undergo a Limb Lengthening Surgery for cases of limb length discrepancy or any genetic abnormality resulting in them having extremely short leg and hands. In patients who are under the age of 15, special care is taken during the procedure so as to avoid injuring the growth plates.