Height Lengthening Operations

Height Lengthening Operations

Height lengthening operations due to health problems or for cosmetic purposes are successfully performed in Liv Hospital Ulus Orthopedics and Traumatology Clinic. Those whose stature is short due to childhood diseases, malnutrition and most frequently dwarfism, can gain 10-12 cm increase in their height depending on the bone the procedure is performed on, with the height lengthening operations that can be generally carried out on patients starting from adolescence period. In the operation that begins with the cutting half of the bone that is planned to be extended from an appropriate point; an external or internal fixator is used to expand the space between the ends that are split in half. After the operation, new bone is formed in very little amounts in the area that is expanded.


What are the causes of short stature?

There are many causes of short stature. Childhood diseases that cause development problems, malnutrition, past fractures, some genetic diseases that affect the bones may cause short stature. However, achondroplasia, e.g. dwarfism causes short stature the most. In shortness after fracture, there is angular deformation of the bone along with short stature. In these types of curvature problems, the curvatures can also be fixed during the lengthening procedure. 

How is the height lengthening operation performed? 

Height lengthening operation is carried out under general or local anesthesia. First, the bone that is planned to be extended, called osteotomy, is cut in half transversally. Then the leg is stabilized with one or more of various external or internal fixators. The bone that has been cut is slowly split with the device that is placed. This procedure is performed in order to induce bone growth. In order to ensure continuous growth of the new bone tissue, the pins on the device should be extended ¼ millimeter four times a day, making a total of 1 millimeter. As the space between the ends of the bone expand, the body continues producing new tissues until the bone in desired length is formed. In order to fix any deformation such as wrong positioning of the bone due to possible trauma, fixators are used. After the bone hardens and recovers, second stage of the treatment begins. Fixation device is removed after making sure that the new bone tissue has fully recovered with the x-ray scan. A second operation is not needed if the lengthening is realized with magnetic screws. When the lengthening process is done, it means the whole operation is over. The patient’s new bone tissue is as strong as any other bone in the body, the patient can return to their daily life.

Who can height lengthening operations be performed on?

Height lengthening operations are performed for two different reasons that are in diseases and for cosmetic purposes. Height lengthening in diseases is the surgically lengthening process of the arm or the leg in cases in which the arms and legs are short for any reason. Cosmetic height lengthening, however; is the procedure of lengthening the height (of arms and legs) of those whose height is below the height average of the society that they live in.

How long can it be extended?

In patients who have a single leg or arm shorter, it is aimed to even out both limbs with the lengthening procedure. In those whose both limbs are short, generally a 5-10 cm increase can be ensured in one single procedure depending on the bone chosen. It is possible for the lengthening operation to be repeated on the same bone or others.  It is not the bone that is drawing the line but the muscle, nerve and vein tissues around the bone. 

What are the devices used in the lengthening operation?

Two kinds of devices are used in the lengthening operations, one internal and one external. In magnetic screws that are placed completely inside the bone, there are no other devices/tools outside the body. The screw placed inside the bone is stretched electromagnetically with a device that is held from the outside. Once the planned amount of length is reached, the procedure is terminated. In the other method, lengthening is ensured with the help of a fixator that is outside the body. When the lengthening procedure is over, the fixator is removed with a short surgery and the system is locked.  

Can the patients go on with their daily lives during the lengthening procedure?

During the lengthening procedure, in the magnetic steel screws and external detection method, patients can walk by putting pressure on their limbs. In titanium magnetic screws, however; it is advised not to put any load on the patient's feet. While the magnetic screws are more comfortable in lengthening procedure, cost of the systems used in external detection method are cheaper. 

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