Limb Lengthening Surgery: Popular Myths
With recent development in the area of limb lengthening surgery, more and more people are considering this cosmetic procedure. However, there is still a lack of sufficient information about operation techniques, prices, post-operational period etc. This shortage of information causes wrong impressions and stereotypes about limb lengthening operation. In this article we have tried to focus on some of them and to tell the truth behind these claims.
“There are non-operational methods for increasing height”
Of course there is a variety of all types of methods, from exercises to medicaments, which are thought to be effective. One thing to note:
Even if they are really effective, they will be worthless after a certain age, when growth plates of bones are ossified and closed.
Growth plates are made of cartilage. They are responsible for height increase in children, teenagers and young adults. After they are closed, there is no way to increase the length of bones without surgical procedures. At this point, we do not recommend our patients to waste their precious time and money on alternative methods.
Many patients wish to lengthen their limbs by 10 or more centimeters in single procedure.
In our limb lengthening procedures, the average maximum of leg lengthening is 8 cm for one bone section (either tibia or femur). Lengthening more than 8 cm in single procedure is not recommended and discouraged because at this much increase in bone length, the surrounding tissues: muscles, nerves, tendons and blood vessels are exposed to excessive stress. This can result in feeling of tension in legs, pain and difficulties in mobility. Instead, limb lengthening operation can be performed on one bone section (e.g. tibia) to increase it by 6-8 cm, then after several months, with another operation the other bone section (for example, femur) the bone can be lengthened by another 6-7 cm, which will make a 12-15 cm increase in height.
It is worth noting that most patients are satisfied even after 6-7 cm lengthening and do not wish to continue lengthening beyond that. The reason for this tendency is that before limb lengthening, a patient whose height is, let’s say 1.58 m, is not often fully able to imagine how does it feel and look to be, for example, 1.65 m. However, after seeing the world from 6,7 or 8 cm higher, they acquire a feeling of satisfaction. Taking this factor into account, we would like to say that those who wish to become taller should not hurry to be disappointed that “with limb lengthening surgery, it is possible to increase height by only 6-8 cm” and think “it is not worth all the pain and money for a “slight” increase in height”.
“There is a very high probability of losing the ability to move, have deformed legs or other permanent complications as a result of limb lengthening surgery”.
This is probably one of the most popular stereotypes about height increase surgery. The first thing to consider: There is a factor of risk present in all surgical procedures. Limb lengthening surgery has its own risks just as any other operation. However, the risk of having complications is much lower than it is said to be, even less than in many other types of surgical procedures. Even if the operation and post-operation procedures is a really serious one, can be painful and takes several months, up to this date we have not had any patients with complications after limb lengthening surgery.
Another thing that scares people who think about limb lengthening surgery is the pictures of older versions of Ilizarov device, which look scary and cumbersome.
These images create an impression of a very difficult, painful surgical procedure in which patients are bound to bed for a long period of time.
In reality, these large devices are largely abandoned in favour of more modern methods and devices. For external fixation method, we apply more modern and compact modifications of Ilizarov devices or a different apparatus called Holyfix. Another popular method applied is LON (Lengthening Over Nails) method, which involves a device of similar size. All these devices can be hidden under oversized dresses or trousers. Regarding PRECICE 2 and STRYDE methods, it involves an internal device which is inserted into the bone and has the lowest discomfort level among limb lengthening surgery methods.
As it can be seen from this article, most of the popular beliefs about limb lengthening surgery which scare people are wrong. Our purpose with this blog is to provide correct and in-depth information about this surgical procedure above all. It is all up to you to make the best decision about which doctor and method to choose, which procedure suits you the best etc.