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Leg Lengthening Surgery

Leg Lengthening Surgery

Leg lengthening and leg shortening surgery is a treatment mostly performed on children who have legs of unequal lengths. The complete procedure involves surgeries, long recovery time and high risks, but it may add up to 6 inches to the child’s leg.

Leg lengthening surgery is recommended if a person has large differences, that is, more than 2 inches in leg length. In some medically justifiable cases, very short patients may also benefit from limb lengthening surgery.

Certain conditions may require a limb lengthening procedure:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Weak muscles
  • Legg-Perthes disease and other hip diseases
  • Broken bones
  • Congenital deformities

Leg Lengthening Surgery

Under general anesthesia, the patient undergoes the following process:

The bone is cut and metal screws are placed above and below the cut. A metal lengthening device is attached to the screws to slowly pull the bone apart over months of treatment. When the desired length is achieved, a new surgery is performed to remove the pins.

A variation of the limb lengthening surgery is performed to shorten the bone: under general anesthesia, the bone is cut and the section removed. A metal plate is placed and held with screws to hold the bone during the healing process.

Risks of Limb Lengthening Surgery

Some patients may suffer from reactions to medications. Bleeding and infection can occur sometimes during any surgery, and even breathing problems are common risks due to anesthesia.

Risks involved in the process after the surgery, include:

  • Injuries to blood vessels
  • Nerve damage
  • Poor bone healing
  • Bone infection or osteomyelitis
  • Epiphusiodesis or bone growth restriction

Follow-Up Care

For bone shortening the treatment is expected to reach fulfillment between 8 and 12 weeks. Patients usually stay at least 2 weeks the hospital with a cast on their leg. Crutches are necessary for at least 6 weeks, while the weakened muscles recover through special exercises. One year later the metal rod or device is removed.

For limb lengthening surgery patients, the process requires frequent visits to the doctor to adjust the lengthening device, depending on the desired results. Physical therapy is also needed to strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility. For the screws holding the device special care must be taken to prevent infection. The overall healing time depends on the amount of lengthening, while each centimeter takes around 30 days to heal.

Leg Lengthening Surgery Cost

The total cost of leg lengthening surgery depends on the desired length. It can cost between $15,000 and $120,000. Nevertheless, leg lengthening surgery costs are expected to increase significantly in the future, because it is mainly service-oriented as opposed to tech-oriented treatments. Unlike cosmetic surgeries, the supply is constrained and usually accommodation and additional services are also involved in limb lengthening surgery costs.