If you’re contemplating the horrors of leg lengthening surgery procedures, there’s good news. Before, there was basically only one method to surgically lengthen your bones, and that was with the Ilizarov device.
The Ilizarov device is a cumbersome, bulky device that attaches to the outside of your legs throughout the limb lengthening procedure.
Recently however, there have been many developments in the area of bone lengthening surgery.
Most of these developments involve internal devices that provide support while lengthening the bones. These new procedures are minimally invasive, less painful, and do away with the cumbersome Ilizarov device. Below are the new leg lengthening surgery procedures and alternatives to the Ilizarov device.
New leg lengthening surgery procedures
1) PRECISE remote-controlled leg limb lengthening system.
The PRECISE system was developed by Ellipse Technologies who recently was given FDA approval to market this system. The system comprises of extension rods and a magnetic actuator that is surgically implanted into the bones. Once implanted, an external remote controller (ERC) is positioned against the skin to lengthen the rods by the magnetic system.
2) Bliskunov’s method
Bliskunov’s method was developed by Professor Alexander Bliskunov. It comprises of a telescoping rod inserted into the bones. The patient makes certain leg movements that activate the rod to telescope, thus lengthening the bones.
Fitbone is the world’s only electromechanical device that is implanted directly into the bone for lengthening. The bones are cut and the lengthening nail is implanted directly into the bone marrow. The lengthening nail is connected to an induction receiver that is also implanted inside the leg. An external device powers the nail through the induction plate, lengthening the nail.
4) Intramedullary Skeletal Kinetic Distractor (ISKD)
ISKD was invented by Dr. Dean Cole, medical director of the Florida Hospital, Orthopaedic Institute, Fracture Care Center. This is one of the few centers in the US that performs bone lengthening surgery for cosmetic reasons. The ISKD device uses a kinetic clutch mechanism that is screwed onto the top and bottom portions of the bone being lengthened. When the patient rotates the leg, the clutch mechanism rotates like a screw and lengthens the bone. The clutch mechanism also ensures that the rod rotates only in one direction.
5) Lengthening Over Nails (LON)
Lengthening over nails (LON) was pioneered by Dr. Paley and Dr. Herzenberg at the Maryland Center for Limb Lengthening & Reconstruction (MCLLR). A metal rod is surgically implanted into the bone and an external fixator is attached to the bone from the outside. The external fixator pulls the bones apart, while the bone slides over the rod and new bone grows around it. After fully lengthening, the external fixator is removed and a rod is attached to the bone for the strengthening phase. After the strengthening phase, the rods are surgically removed.
This procedure was developed by Dr. Helong Bai in Chongqing, China. It uses a fixator clip instead of an ilizarov fixator device and covers just one side of the leg and is much more comfortable than the ilizarov fixator that completely covers the leg.
7) Salamehfix (SLDF)
The SLDF system is a hinged external fixator device developed by professor Ghassan Salameh in Syria. It has three small arcs instead of the circular system of the Ilizarov fixator device. Since the arcs are of different size, it can conform to the size and shape of the leg and so can be worn under clothing. The arc system also enables the screws to be positioned in minimally painful regions, provides stable fixation, and allows for early weight bearing.