This series of treatments involves several surgeries, a long recovery period, and a number of risks. However, it can add up to 6 inches of length to a leg.
The child will be under general anesthesia. This means the child is asleep and pain-free during surgery.
- The bone to be lengthened is cut.
- Metal pins or screws are placed through the skin and into the bone. Pins are placed above and below the cut in the bone. Stitches are used to close the wound.
- A metal device is attached to the pins in the bone. It will be used later to very slowly (over months) pull the cut bone apart. This creates a space between the ends of the cut bone that will fill in with new bone.
When the leg has reached the desired length and has healed, another surgery is done to remove the pins.
BONE RESECTION OR REMOVAL
This is a complex surgery that can produce a very accurate degree of change.
While the child is under general anesthesia:
- The bone to be shortened is cut. A section of bone is removed.
- The ends of the cut bone will be joined. A metal plate with screws or a nail down the center of the bone is placed across the bone to hold it in place during healing.
BONE GROWTH RESTRICTION
Bone growth takes place at the growth plates (physes) at each end of long bones.
The child is under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a cut over the growth plate at the end of the bone in the longer leg.
- The growth plate may be destroyed by scraping or drilling it to stop further growth at that growth plate.
- Another method is to insert staples on each side of the bony growth plate. These can be removed when both legs are close to the same length.
REMOVAL OF IMPLANTED METAL DEVICES
Metal pins, screws, staples, or plates may be used to hold the bone in place during healing. Most orthopedic surgeons will wait several months to a year before removing any large metal implants. Another surgery is needed to remove the implanted devices.