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Limb Lengthening Surgery

What is Limb Lengthening Surgery ?

Lengthening surgery is a surgical operation mostly preferred by people who think that they are below the average height standards due to genetics and hormonal reasons or who believe that their height is short due to purely aesthetic concerns. It is aimed to eliminate the height problem by applying arms or legs lengthening operation to the patients.

Even though  standard height measurements are determined differently according to each country and society, the average height is expected to be above 1.50 centimeters. People who fall under this height measure are diagnosed with “constitutional short stature”. People with a stature below the average are classified as pygmy, that is, “dwarf”, and this condition, which is below the average height of 1.40 centimeters  is considered a disease and this situation is called “dwarfism”.

The applicability limits of lengthening surgery is considered to be around 3 or 4 years old, and the operation can be applied to patients as of these ages. Procedures for children are generally carried out in 2 stages, including before the age of 10 and after the age of 10. In operations to be performed at later ages, necessary examinations are performed by considering criteria such as the age of the person, bone structure, tissue, how many centimeters the lengthening will be. Considering the results, the appropriate treatment is determined and the treatment process is started.

Why is Limb Lengthening Surgery Performed?

Today, this operation, which is applied by individuals who have problems with short stature, is accepted as the most effective method. These surgeries, which are applied to eliminate the problems of individuals with the developing technology, are very successful. Among the causes of stature lengthening surgery, there are negative factors such as childhood diseases, short stature caused by genetic problems from the family.

While noticing this problem in childhood enables necessary measures to be taken to prevent the progression of the problem, unfortunately, the solution to this problem, which is noticed in later ages, is very difficult. For this reason, it is very important to regularly measure and follow up the height development in children. Lengthening surgeries are usually performed in cases of dwarfism, but may also need to be performed in some special cases. Other factors that cause this are as follows;

  • Genetic factors that negatively affect bone development
  • Some diseases in childhood (such as kidney diseases)
  • Lack of healthy and adequate eating habits
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Aesthetic concerns
  • Closure of the growth cartilage

If you are observing one or more of these problems in your child, you can consult Üsküdar Private Hürrem Sultan Hospital physicians and get information about the necessary treatment methods.

To Whom Is The Lengthening Surgery Applied?

There are several factors that require lengthening surgery to be performed, and the decision for surgery is taken with these in mind. If we group these factors, in the first group, the patients who have a shortness in their leg or arm compared to one value and this inequality must be corrected, and in the second group, those with a diagnosis of “dwarfism”, a congenital disease that cannot exceed 135 centimeters in men and 130 centimeters in women. The surgery is performed for this group, starting from childhood. Those in the third group of lengthening surgery consist of people who want to be visually taller and look taller regardless of any health problems.

What are the Types of Lengthening Surgery?

Lengthening surgery varies depending on the patient’s disease history, health status, psychological and economic status, and there are different types of these surgeries. When deciding on the surgical method, it will be to your advantage to choose the method that your doctor deems appropriate for you.

Types of lengthening surgery can be listed as follows;

  • External fixation (Ilizarov technique)
  • Internal fixation (Motorized nail)
  • Combined technique

Each of these techniques has its own advantages. Since the Ilizarov technique has been used for many years, it is the most preferred technique. Although it is used quite often, scars remain after this operation. These  type of surgeries  is being applied more easily as technology is developing day by day. In internal fixation, which is one of the new techniques, the results of the operation are much more successful thanks to the materials placed inside the body and controlled from the outside. In the combined technique, both internal and external fixation  are used together.

Which Tests Are Performed Before Lengthening Surgery?

Before the lengthening operation, the patient’s suitability for this operation should be determined. For this, some tests need to be done. First of all, it is of great importance to determine that the patient is mentally ready for this surgery. It should be stated why the person wants to increase his height, whether he is ready for the post-operative process, what are the important rules to follow after the surgery, and it should be determined whether he will fulfill these rules. Attention also should be paid to details such as that someone will accompany the patient during the operation.

However, the person has to share the history of the disease and, if any, previous diagnosis, treatment and surgeries with his doctor. One of the most important factors is that the patient will be psychologically compatible with both preoperative and postoperative processes. In addition, the suitability of the bone structure for lengthening surgery plays a very important role in making the necessary diagnosis.

How is Limb Lengthening Surgery Performed?

Lengthening surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The operation is carried out by performing an operation on the thigh or shinbone. In the surgery, the bone is cut transversely with a process called “osteotomy” and the two ends of the cut bone are fixed with special devices and made movable. After the operation, 1 mm of growth and bone union are expected to occur in this area where the procedure is performed.

The lengthening process, which cannot be performed with a single operation, is repeated in at least 6 or 8 months, and each time the bones are moved a little further from each other. With this method, it is aimed to provide new bone formation over time in the bones that are removed from each other and to observe their growth in this way. In this process, it should be noted that surgery alone will not be enough. Therefore, in addition to this, physical therapy procedures should be done meticulously.

Generally, 95 percent success is achieved in lengthening surgeries. The patient has no pain problem before and after the operation. One of the most important points to be considered after these operations, in which patients do not have any scarring problems, is the important role that the care of the patient plays in the healing process.

How Long Does the Lengthening Surgery Take?

All the necessary tests before the operation are done meticulously, if there is no result that will prevent the patient from having the operation, the operation is performed. Lengthening surgery is completed in approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. After the operation, the patient is kept under control in the hospital for 2 days. The patient is discharged after all the controls after the 2nd day and can return to normal and business life within 15-20 days.

What is the Recovery Time After the Lengthening Procedure?

The recovery process after lengthening surgery is affected by many factors such as age, needs, care, and these vary from person to person. Generally, a faster recovery process is observed in children compared to adults. Not neglecting the nutrients and calcium supplements that should be consumed during the healing process and the correct and regular application of physical therapy play an important role in accelerating the healing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cm can I grow with lengthening surgery?

It varies according to the patient’s structural and health status. Generally, an extension of 7-10 cm can be performed.

What are the risks of lengthening surgery?

There is no risk in lengthening surgery. The only important point to note is that this operation is performed by experienced orthopedic specialists. Operations performed by non-specialists; It can cause angular defects, scars, limp and bone problems. .

When is lengthening surgery done?

Depending on the medical condition of the patient, surgery can be performed after 3-4 years of age. Apart from this, it is possible to perform the operations planned to be performed in the following periods between the ages of 18-50.

Will there be pain after lengthening surgery?

If lengthening surgeries are performed by specialists, they do not cause any pain or scars.


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