Limb Lengthening Treatment and Reasons for Application
The limb lengthening treatments are the most important subject matters that are focused on. This process is for providing an increase in length of the femur and tibia by lengthening them for medical-cosmetic reasons. Medical reasons refer to congenital and inherited leg length discrepancies and short stature. Cosmetic reasons mean that the individuals feel short due to various reasons, although there is no problem.
Age is an important factor in decision-making process. Medical limb lengthening may be carried out in all age groups starting from the preschool period. However, in cosmetic limb lengthening, the bone structure should be examined and the risks of bone healing due to lengthening should be considered. Because as the age increases, the healing speed of the bones slows down and the duration of the treatment increases.
Decision for the treatment
Firstly, the expectations of the individual who wishes to lengthen his/her height should be revealed clearly by talking to the physician face to face. This is an acquaintance visit. In the second step, the patients are asked to ask any questions they may have. These questions are answered and it is considered whether the individual is really suitable for these processes and whether their demands can be met, and the risks of the process are explained. If he/she is in the appropriate patient group, the surgical method and duration of the treatment are determined by taking x-ray films. In the case that the lengthening process is for cosmetic reasons, it is important for the individual to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist before the operation. This is also a legal procedure.
In the medical process, the rate of lengthening is determined by the physician. Unless there is a high risk, the bone may be lengthened to the one fifth of its length. This can be explained as follows: in the case that the femur length of the individual is 50 centimeter, the bone of that individual may be lengthened by 10 centimeters. However, a lengthening of 10 centimeter would be a very challenging process for a child with a 20-centimeter femur. Therefore, according to the rule of one fifth, a lengthening of about 4 centimeters will be possible.
In the cosmetic lengthening process, the patient is informed of the amount and method that may have minimum risk depending on that patient’s bone thickness, bone structure, health status. Excessive lengthening may result in a wide range of problems such as stiffness in the muscles, nerve injuries, strain in vessels, and bone infections. Briefly, the extent of lengthening is determined by the length, structure and quality of the bone, and the physicians’ decision, rather than the individual’s expectation. Therefore, the individual’s wishes are important in cosmetic lengthening procedures, but a ratio that does not put him/her at risk should be recommended by the physician.