About Limb Lengthening
Limb lengthening is now achievable to the entire satisfaction. It has been performed successfully for about 50 years in Kurgan, Russia. Prof. Gavriil A. Ilizarov developed the concept in 1951.The first case of leg-lengthening was performed by Prof. G. A Ilizarov in 1972.
First an external fixation frame was developed that was placed around the leg. Knowing that compression of the fracture would help stimulate bone healing. The patient was instructed to gradually compress the non-union by turning a rod. However, the patient turned the rod the wrong way and caused distraction (separation) of the fracture. Ilizarov noticed that new bone had formed in the gap between the bone ends. This was the beginning of much research and development that showed that limb lengthening was possible, safe and effective.Ilizarov and his colleagues performed thousands of limb lengthening procedures in Kurgan, Russia. Russian politics, however, made education and communication with the Western world very difficult.
Lengthening for stature in normally proportioned individuals with short stature but without dysplasia (dwarfism) requires a different strategy for lengthening than in patients with disproportion and dysplasia. Most patients with constitutional short stature (CSS) or low normal stature (LNS) require only modest increase in stature compared to the extreme amount of lengthening required by patients with dwarfism. In fact, the starting stature of patients with LNS is the final goal of lengthening in patients with dwarfism
One of the most important principles of the Ilizarov technique is to maintain and increase physical activity during the treatment.
Your rehabilitation, including physical and occupational therapy sessions at HillsClinic, begins the day after the surgery when the patient stands up, starts putting weight on limbs and walks. Crucial for maintaining joint flexibility and healing the bone and soft tissue, this also has a dramatically positive effect on the patient’s mood and outlook. Physical therapy at the center includes recreational activities and outside trips for muscle and general relaxation.
Your actual manipulation of the limb for lengthening, usually begins approximately 10 days after the surgery. At that time, adjustments are manually made to the external fixator. Bone distraction is conducted at a rate of 1 mm per day.
The lengthening period can last from 1 to 3 months, depending on the desired height increase target. During this period the HillsClinic’s medical staff monitors the recovery process by regularly having x-rays and frame adjustment and care. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are constant, and the patient maintains a regular diet and healthy lifestyle throughout the treatment.
After your desired results have been achieved, stiffness of the frame is gradually decreased to slowly transfer weight from the frame to the bone (bone training). Once the new bone is clinically tested, the frame is removed under local or general anesthesia. The new bone tissue assumes all the qualities and strength of normal bone.