Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
- A physical exam
- Measure your legs
Before the surgery, you will:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines—You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners
- Avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery.
Description of the Procedure
This procedure will be done in stages. The first stage is a procedure called an
. The doctor will make an incision in the leg and cut the bone. The doctor will select a fixation device for the leg. This will stabilize the bone while it is being lengthened. Options include:
- External fixation device—This framed device is positioned around the leg. Pins and wires are placed through the skin and tissue to reach the bone and lengthen it. Some have a dial attached to the frame. This dial is turned to slowly lengthen the bone.
- Internal fixation device—This is placed inside the leg. It is positioned on the bone. Some of these devices have a nail with a tool that automatically lengthens the bone. In other cases, it is used with the external device.
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Lengthening will be done at a rate of about 1 millimeter (mm) per day. This stage may start a few days or weeks after the osteotomy and last for a couple of months. Depending on your device, you will adjust it several times during the day. Your body will slowly regenerate new bone in the small space that was created between the bone ends.
During the next stage, your bone will heal. You will be able to put more weight on your limb. X-rays will be taken. When the healing process is completed, the fixation devices will be removed.
How Long Will It Take?
The osteotomy can take about two hours. This depends on the extent of the surgery.
The lengthening process can take 2-3 months.