Limb length discrepancies, or having one arm or leg smaller than the other, can happen for various causes.
A kid may be born with the condition that causes one limb to grow slower than the other. After a complex fracture or a fracture that heals incorrectly, an arm or leg may stop growing.
Limb-lengthening surgery may be an option in such cases. Alternatively, surgery to remove a bone cyst may cause that limb’s growth to be stunted.
Over the years, Dr. Sandeep Singh, the best orthopedic surgeon in Bhubaneswar, has helped many patients lengthen their legs and arms. He is at the forefront of adopting new technologies that have improved patient experience and outcomes.
While limb lengthening is beneficial to many patients, Dr. Sandeep Singh clarifies that the procedure is not for everyone.
Before a patient or their family devotes limb lengthening, they must first learn about the procedure and its risks.
Dr. Sandeep Singh explains what limb lengthening is, how it works, and what patients should know before deciding whether or not the procedure is right for them.
What is the process of limb lengthening?
Limb lengthening stimulates the bone in a patient’s leg or arm to grow longer, according to Dr. Sandeep Singh, an excellent orthopedic specialist from Bhubaneswar.
This is accomplished by surgically cutting the bone and attaching a device that slowly separates the two ends.
New bone fills the space between these two ends as it becomes available.
Patients often go through several lengthening cycles for several years, depending on their:
- Stage of growth
- Amount of lengthening needed
Leg lengthening is most commonly utilized to repair a leg length discrepancy.
“The goal of leg lengthening is to level the body,” says Dr. Sandeep Singh, a fantastic orthopedic surgeon from Bhubaneswar.
The majority of arm-length differences do not have this kind of effect. Arm lengthening is only considered when a shorter arm interferes with daily activities.
What is the best way to make room for new bone to grow?
A gap in the bone can be created using a variety of devices. The first is a frame that the patient wears for several months outside their leg or arm.
A family member or the patient expands the frame — and the bone — a tiny portion at frequent intervals after the initial surgery to promote bone growth.
An expandable rod is now another opportunity that numerous patients favor. The rod is inserted within the bone after the surgeon has cut it.
A magnetic controller on the outside of the limb lengthens the rod.
In comparison to the frames, the internal device causes minor damage to the skin and muscles surrounding the bone and reduces the risk of infection.
What happens to the skin, muscles, and nerves around the bone during lengthening?
The specialist slowly stretches the soft tissues around it to lengthen the bone. “I compare it to daily stretching: you might have tight hamstrings at first, but with gentle stretching, you’ll be able to touch your toes without yanking the muscles,” says Dr. Sandeep Singh, a highly skilled orthopedic doctor from Bhubaneswar.
“Throughout this process, we keep a close eye on the patients. We will slow down, or even stop, the lengthening process if a nerve is stretched too far or a muscle becomes too tight, “adds the professional.
Are there any dangers to limb lengthening?
There are some significant dangers. Patients who have their limbs lengthened are at risk for the following:
- Nerve damage
- Muscle damage
- Joint contracture
“We make sure our patients are aware of this as they consider their options. We can prevent or at least significantly reduce the inherent complications in lengthening operations by monitoring the lengthening process and modulating it as needed, “Dr. Sandeep Singh, a brilliant orthopedic surgeon from Bhubaneswar, agrees.
Complications will occur in everyone who has limb lengthening surgery. It all comes down to the difficulties and how quickly the surgeon can spot and correct them.
The surgeon can reduce risk and complications by planning ahead of time and cautiously.
The patient and their family must be fully aware of the risks and have a realistic expectation of the outcomes if they choose this procedure. It’s a group effort.
What other options do you have besides limb lengthening?
Prosthetic management is another option. In some cases, a prosthesis can be customized to a patient’s malformed limb to improve mobility.
Amputation of the shorter limb is sometimes necessary. While this may appear drastic, amputation is the best option for many patients.
“Many of our amputation patients are now out running around, competing in athletics, or just doing the things kids do with prosthetic limbs,” says Dr. Sandeep Singh, a renowned orthopedic surgeon from Bhubaneswar.
How do you assist patients and their families in making decisions?
Some patients are willing to put up with multiple surgeries and risks with limb lengthening.
Amputation means fewer operations and more mobility with a prosthesis for others. Understanding what will work best for each patient is a big part.
Dr. Sandeep Singh, who has extensive experience correcting complex limb deformities through limb reconstruction treatment, says, “Our role is to bring our patients and their families through a thoughtful process so they can make the choice that’s right for them.”