Top 10 limb lengthening surgery Q&A’s (Doctor answers)
Hi everyone! In this blog post we’ve decided to answer top 10 questions about limb lengthening surgery that the patients usually ask us before surgery.
The answers have been provided by Professor, Dr. Arshak Mirzoyan, the Head of Yerevan Center of Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction.
Please feel free to give us any questions you have about height increase surgery here.What is limb lengthening?
1. What is limb lengthening?
Limb lengthening is a surgical procedure:From small incision the bone is cut, the device is applied on limb; external fixator, external fixator in combination with nail (LON) or recently developed self-extending telescopic rods.
The devices gradually pull apart the fragments from each other leading to new bone (callus) formation. It is scientifically proven that bone and soft tissues can grow under mechanical tension which is very close to natural growth. So it is possible to increase height and/or improve tibia-femur proportion.
2. Is limb lengthening surgery painful?
There is certain pain in the first period of lengthening and in the process of physical therapy, but pain is easily manageable by average per oral painkillers.
3. Is it possible to become taller by using pills or exercises?
After physiological growing zone arrest the only proven procedure for height increase is a surgery.
4. Which is the best available method for height increase?
There are various methods of Limb lengthening based on Gavril Ilizarov’s invention, from the classical Ilizarov method to the recently developed self-extending telescopic rods.
They all have advantages and disadvantages. They are different by conformity, duration, price and complications rate. All available methods are discussed with the patient and the optimal one is chosen.
5. How much is the cost?
The cost for Limb lengthening surgery depends on the chosen technique and amount of lengthening. In YCLLR It starts from 2000 USD per each cm of lengthening for both legs. Mentioned price in YCLLR covers all medical expenses include 5 days of stationary after the surgery and complete course of physical therapy. Accommodations costs is not included. You can contact us for price calculation here.
6. Which parts of the legs can be lengthened? How much is it possible to increase height?
Depending on the goal of treatment lower legs(tibias), upper legs (femur) or both can be lengthened. Height increase depends on original proportion of the patient. The maximum length that is achieved for aesthetic indication in YCLLR was 16 cm.
7. How long does it take?
In case of the classical Ilizarov the treatment process takes 1 month per each cm, LON method decreases duration for twice and more.
8. Is it dangerous?
No, it is not dangerous. However, you must not underestimate that it is a surgical procedure and so various complications are theoretically possible. The chance of complications is minimal especially at the patient who strictly follows doctor’s recommendation and cooperates with the physical therapist.
9. Why does leg lengthening seems to be more common in developing countries?
Leg Lengthening is a high tech procedure that needs certain equipment and trained personnel. Please make sure that doctor has enough experience in Lengthening reconstructive surgery and knows how to deal with possible complications!
10. What is physical activity of the patient after the surgery, in process of lengthening and after the treatment?
First steps the patient does the next day after the surgery with support of crutches or walker and guided by physical therapist. Physical activity gradually increases and on the 5th-7th day the patient is able to walk up to 10m and discharged to outpatient treatment.
At the end of the treatment the patient has almost no physical limitations. After treatment completed it is recommended to limit physical activity for a while but after 2-3 months no limitation is required – contact sport, etc.
Important: motivated patients present better functional results in less time frame.
Thank you for reading and feel free to ask us any questions you have.
Stay Healthy !