Surgery

There is only one type of surgery used in the treatment of growth conditions – leg extension surgery.

This procedure is only used in cases where there is no other treatment option available. This might be in cases where the legs are extremely short or if they are of uneven length. This type of procedure is not generally carried out to correct height. 

During the surgery, the leg bones are cut through. Each piece of bone is placed in a metal frame, so that the bones cannot move. These frames are then placed slightly apart from each other and every day the frame is moved a little further (approximately 1 mm) apart, causing the bone to be stretched slowly. All other tissues (muscle, skin, etc.) will grow along with the bone.

Leg extension is controversial. The treatment is not only painful but also time consuming, and the stretching can take months. After surgery the child will have to be taught how to walk again with longer legs, and so will have to have an intensive period of rehabilitation. In addition, there is a risk of other complications such as infections.

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