Leg Lengthening

by Paul on May 26, 2012

Leg Lengthening For Height IncreaseEveryone wants to grow taller and it takes effort and discipline to maintain even the simplest exercise routine. Nowadays, however, it is possible to get a few inches by having a leg lengthening surgery. Leg lengthening is a complex process that has traditionally been performed primarily on children or adults to correct disproportional leg lengths. The procedure is dangerous and painful but some short people opt for it to gain those inches they’ve always wanted. It has also been an option for people with dwarfism.

The procedure has been used to give people with constitutional short stature two or three inches of height. It refers to people who are in the bottom fifth percentile of height in their region and do not display deformities common with dwarfism.

Cosmetic Leg Lengthening procedures cannot be compared with more simple plastic surgery. They are very complex, painful, and costly and require long recovery times from one half of the full year. People should be aware of the pain and discomfort associated with the surgery and they have the mentally prepared of the pain all through out of the duration. Some doctors prescribe minimal pain management since anti-inflammatory pain medication can disrupt the creating of new bone. Other medical centers require that their patient to undergo psychological evaluation to ensure that they will be able to recover from the pain and look at it with a positive attitude.

There are four phases: Preparation, Surgery, Lengthening and Strengthening

Preparation

The patient has his or her consultations with the physician during this phase. The physician explains all the aspects of the operation and recovery since it does inflict pain to the patient who will undergo the operation. X-Rays are taken so that a custom external fixator device can be build specifically for the patient.

Surgery

During the operation, the bones on the legs are sawed open and pins or keys are inserted in the gap. The pin and keys will be turned or twisted everyday to make the gap a little bit bigger. The surgery takes advantage of the regenerating capability of the human bone. When the gap is finally filled up by the new bone tissues, the patient will notice the growth in height.

Lengthening

Also called Distraction. This phase begins about a week after surgery and continues over the next two or three months, depending on how much lengthening is desired. The fixator device is lengthened, increasing the distance between both halves of each bone.

New bone growth occurs in the space in between. Patients are scheduled for one to two hours of therapy each day of the lengthening. The lower legs have been increased two or three inches by the end of this phase.

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Strengthening

Also known as the Consolidation phase. For the following three to six months, the patient continues to use a wheelchair until the newly grown bone is strong enough to bear the patient’s weight. The external fixator device will continue to be used to keep the two bones align properly. During strengthening, therapy can be reduced to three times a week. At the end of this phase, a simple operation is performed to remove the external fixator device and the patient can finally walk with any support. However, a cast support is required for an additional month to protect the legs from unwanted impact.

Physical Therapy and Attitude

Two vital success factors for the procedure are extensive physical and occupational therapy and a positive attitude. Patients are required to have one to two hours of therapy each day during lengthening phase. The importance of this therapy is to help prepare the patient for the surgery that he/she will undergo and it increases the positivity during the healing process. Omitting a therapy could lengthen recovery by two or three times the durations. What should be a half year recovery can easily be extended to a one or two year recovery without proper physical therapy.

Having a positive attitude during the duration is also important. Because of the tedious process of the surgery, the patient has to undergo months of being immobilized. It is difficult to comprehend the fact to be confined for days and be dependent of people in doing your daily activities. The patient must actively work during the healing process and maintain a positive attitude.

Pain Management

The entire leg lengthening procedure is very painful and requires proper pain management. Chronic pain can significantly impair recovery. There are limitations to the types of pain management medications that can be used. One of them is taking anti-inflammatory drugs which have been shown to slow bone growth and will only be prescribed during emergencies. Narcotic drugs may cause addiction. Significant pain during the lengthening and strengthening phases might prevent the patient from doing physical therapy. Getting enough sleep is ideal but the pain might become unbearable and deter the patient from doing so.

Risk and Complications

As with many other surgeries, there is risk of complications during and after the process. There is a 25% risk of complications following leg lengthening. The greatest risk is infection at the sites where the pins enter the skin. Special care must be taken to ensure that these sites are kept clean. Using anti-bacterial ointments must be applied on a regular schedule.

There are many people who are seeking for height increasing solutions. Of course, there is still the natural way of getting those inches but it’s understandable that hospitals of today are offering surgeries to help people with a sure way to increase their height, albeit the risks.

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