Limb lengthening is the process to remedy the deformity and length of a limb that is deformed, short or missing altogether (such as fibular hemimelia where the fibula is absent in a child). This shortening or deformity can be caused by a bone injury or a number of birth defects. Limb length discrepancy can be caused by:
- Bone injury
- Bone infection
- Bone diseases (dysplasia)
- Arthritis & Neurological conditions
When is Limb Lengthening Needed?
Limb lengthening procedure is needed when leg length difference, or discrepancy, is visible. Serious cases of limb length discrepancy usually need a functional limb lengthening procedure to regain normal movement, strength and normal movement in the affected limb.
Functional limb lengthening is also required in case of:
- Bone infection disorders
- Growth plate injuries
- Fractured limb bones in a growing child
- Replacement of an absent bone
What Are The Treatments & Surgeries for Limb Lengthening?
The type of functional limb lengthening procedure is dependent on surrounding tissues and the rate of bone regeneration of the body. This procedure involves the following two phases:
- Distraction Phase – In this phase the doctor will perform a surgery to make a crack in affected limb. An external fixator device is attached on the outside of the limb. This is connected to the two parts of the bone. This device is used to increase the difference between the cracks gradually. This can be done by the family as well. When the gap between the bones reaches the desired distance the doctor will remove the external fixator device.
- Consolidated Phase – After the desired amount of difference is achieved in the bone the external fixator device is removed. An additional rod is then placed around the broken bone to provide it with support as it is weak at this stage. Gradually, the two ends of the bone start to regenerate and slowly fill the gap between by calcification. This may take a few weeks normally. After sufficient time has passed the doctor will perform an X-ray test that will help determine the density of the calcium and strength in the regenerated part of the bone.
After the surgery, in case no internal supporting device was used for support, the doctor advises the limb to be put in a cast to give it the required support. In case there is an internal fixator device around the bone the doctor will not put the limb in a cast. Post surgery the doctor will suggest a course of physical therapy for a few months to regain the strength and normal movement in the limb.
Limb Lengthening In India
Functional limb lengthening procedure is crucial to correct birth deformities and injuries that cause the affected limb to become deformed or shorter and weak. This procedure rectifies the defect and allows for normal functioning of the previously affected limb. It is necessary to get this procedure done through well-experienced doctors and surgeons for best results. The orthopedic doctors and surgeons in India have vast experience and go through extensive training for treating limb length discrepancies. India also has efficient healthcare facilities that are efficient and economical too. Cost efficient treatment by experienced doctors makes India a favored destination for functional limb lengthening procedure.
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