Limb Lengthening for Children – Height Growth Operations

 

Limb lengthening for children provides a corrective procedure when your child has a notable difference in the lengths of their arms or legs. The procedures, performed by orthopedic surgeons, will ensure your child’s limbs become the same length while getting perfect care.

At Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists, we believe every child is different and special; so we ensure that each case provides the correct solutions with accuracy and precision.

Dr. Shyam Kishan leads the limb lengthening Team

Dr. Shyam Kishan

Our successes in height growth operations and limb lengthening procedures for children and adolescents have been recognized globally. Dr. Shyam Kishen leads the team and his peers consider him as a leading expert in this field

How Are Limb Length Differences Diagnosed?

Most of the time parents or the child’s pediatrician recognize these differences.  Once determined, the parents will see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  Therefore, the first step in diagnosing limb length variation and severity occurs with the help of an x-ray or a simple clinical examination.  The tests usually occur once every six months in order to monitor the differences and determine the right time for the limb lengthening procedure.

What are the Causes of Variation in Limb Length?

Some of the most common causes of discrepancies in limb length:

  • Birth defects like Congenital bowing of the tibia bone
  • Trauma to Growth Plates
  • Illnesses like Polio
  • Bone Infection
  • Bone Diseases like Neurofibromatosis
  • Joint Inflammations like Juvenile Arthritis

Trauma leads to limb shortening when a malunion or stunted growth occurs at an injured growth plate.

In the case of dwarfism, it causes short stature, limb deformities of different kinds, and functional limitations. Height growth and limb lengthening in children’s operations can correct some of the abnormalities.

When Should You Treat Limb Lengthening for Children?

Treatment of limb length discrepancies depends on the difference in length of the limbs. Not all limb length variations require surgery or treatment. However, if the difference becomes very obvious and limiting, doctors will recommend treatment as soon as possible — especially for young children.

What are the Limb Lengthening for Children Treatment Options?

Doctors recommend several options for limb lengthening and height growth operations, but a child may require more than one treatment option to get the best result. At Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists, our specialists evaluate your child’s situation and determine which options to use.

By the way, while many believe that doctors only lengthen the legs, doctors also lengthen arms

Gradual Limb Lengthening for Children and Deformity Correction

This treatment option involves mounting an external fixator on a limb to lengthen or shorten it or repair a deformity. External fixators are of two types; circular rings that go round the exterior of the limb and a straight bar along one side of the limb. The fixator frame remains on the outside of the limb and connects to the bone through pins and screws.

Once the surgeon puts the fixator in place, the surgeon then performs an osteotomy which divides the bone. The doctor makes the decision as to where to divide the bone upon carefully evaluating the patient and the type of correction needed.

After the conclusion of the surgery, the surgeons at Medical City Children’s Orthopedics & Spine Specialists show the parents how to adjust the fixator on their child’s limb. In addition. parents will adjust the fixator daily so the two parts of the divided bone can gradually move into their new and correct position to lengthen the limb and increase the height of the child.

New bone grows in the gap between the two ends of the cut bone and over time, the bone gets healed enough that the fixator can get removed from the limb. Another quick surgery and the fixator gets removed. 

Epiphysiodesis

A special layer of cartilage at each end of a bone is found in most bones. This cartilage is called a growth plate and it allows the bone to grow. When a child reaches adulthood, the growth plate becomes bone and at this point, the bone is no longer grows.

This Epiphysiodesis process slows down the growth of a bone. By performing surgery, the surgeon will remove the growth plate of the longer limb. Upon the growth plate being removed from the longer limb, the shorter leg can over time catch up with the loner one.

Only children who continue to grow should get this procedure. By the time your child stops growing, both limbs should become the same length.

Normally, surgeons conduct this surgery when a child is between the ages of 10 and 14. It also depends on the differences in limb length. Epiphysiodesis works well for very little limb differences. Doctors consider this procedure as a relatively simple procedure that may be conducted in one day.

After the procedure, your child can put his or her full weight on the leg almost immediately and he or she will not require a cast but will need crutches for about a week or two. Regular follow-up appointments and X-rays should occur to monitor the success of the operation.

Hemiepiphysiodesis

This process pertains to straightening a deformed or crooked bone as a child grows. A small metal plate is attached to the growth plate at the end of the deformed bone during surgery. This slows down the growth of one side of the bone allowing the other side to grow faster straightening the limb.

The procedure occurs as an outpatient and your child will not feel the metal plate as it can only be seen via an x-ray. Regular follow-up appointments and x-rays are scheduled to allow the surgeon to keep tabs on the crooked limb and the straightening over time.

Usually, complete straightening takes about 6 to 12 months and once the bone has been straightened completely, the small metal plate gets removed to prevent curving to the other direction.

The hemiepiphysiodesis process is performed only for children who continue to grow.

Your child’s case is thoroughly examined by the doctors to determine eligibility as this procedure does not work on all limb deformities.

Acute Deformity Correction

Reconstruction surgery can correct some limb deformities. This procedure fixes the deformity in a single surgery without requiring gradual correction. When your child is aroused from anesthesia, the limb is already straightened.

With this option, the surgeon divides the bone and then held together in the right place using metal plates, screws, or rods. After surgery, your child will need to restrain from putting weight on the operated limb and stop any lifting of heavy things. Also, your child will also need crutches for about 6 to 12 weeks alongside many months of physical therapy.

One major benefit of this surgery is that it is done once without requiring any additional surgeries.

Limb Shortening

This procedure involves reducing the length of the longer limb. Doctors consider this procedure for patients with limb length differences of about 2 to 5 cm. This procedure helps people who have completely stopped growing or near the end of their growth.

If the child does not qualify for epiphysiodesis and you do not want your child to undergo a limb lengthening or height growth operation, this procedure may be the solution.

The surgery removes the length of bone from the longer limb.  This will make both legs equal and uses a rod or metal plate to hold the bone together.

Although this surgery appears as the perfect solution for certain limb discrepancies, it could come with specific issues that your doctor will fully explain. With this operation, physical therapy must take place and it could take a year or more for the shortened limb to regain its former strength.

Why Is Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists Highly Recommended?

Highly Rated Doctors

Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists is comprised of only board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons.  With successful limb lengthening for children and height growth operations (specifically for children), we are the right doctors to take care of your child and all their limb needs. The hospital takes pride in providing the very best of care available for your child.

Patient Reviews

When you read the patient reviews of the Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists, you will learn how much trust the parents have for our doctors. This is a major factor to consider when choosing a doctor to help with very unique procedures.

Our parents and patients love us for a reason and you will too.

Top-Notch Facilities and Equipment

Our doctor will operate on your child at the Medical City Hospital. For a hospital to provide perfect care, the right facilities and equipment are required. Finally, Medical City Hospital provides the best care available and we take pride in keeping up to date with new and improved equipment to ensure the increased success rate of each procedure.