Surgery - Limb Replacement / Lengthening
What is limb lengthening (or limb replacement)?
Limb lengthening is the process of straightening a bone in case it is deformed or unusually bent in a certain direction. It is also referred as the process of increasing the length of the bone because the procedure aims to help people who had size difference in their limbs.
Limb Replacement is the procedure of replacing a bone that is missing.
What is it for?
The procedure of limb lengthening is suitable for adults or children suffering from this condition and is not limited to age. The procedure is performed on patients with a difference in lengths of their legs or arms. The difference in length may be due to various causes among which, bone infection is the most common cause. Other reasons include a congenital defect or the absence of some part in one leg during birth after which the condition stays with the person until it is treated with limb lengthening procedure.
What is the process like?
The process is divided into two phases, distraction and consolidation. The actual procedure of lengthening the bone comes during distraction while consolidation refers to making the new bone strong and stable for the patient to take support from it.
Internal fixators and external fixators are used as the two major devices to perform the surgery. The internal fixators are fitted inside the body where suitable and necessary while the external devices are attached to the bone with wires. A small incision is then made on the skin to get to the affected area and treat it. After the required length is achieved, the devices act as a support to the new bones because they are weak and fragile. The procedure is extensive and may take around 1-3 days.
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