What is Height Lengthening and Deformity Correction Surgery?
The Height Lengthening procedure utilizes the newest techniques available to allow the lengthening of your legs, thighs, or a combination of both. The method consists of a minimally invasive technique that creates a surgical cut in your bone and with gradual lengthening, using an external or internal device, the bone is lengthened to the desired height. As a result, your height will increase several inches.
Deformity correction surgery is used to lengthen and/or straighten deformed bone segments and also to replace missing bone. The procedures may be performed on both children and adults who have leg length discrepancies or deformities due to birth defects, disease, or injury. It also covers patients with bony nonunion (non-healing bone), bow legs, knock knees, foot and ankle deformities, and osteomyelitis (bone infection).
What are the different devices that are used in Height Lengthening?
Depending on your body’s anatomy, the lengthening may need to be performed either in your legs or the thighs. If the lengthening is performed in the legs, either an external device called the Taylor-Spatial Frame (TSF) or the new PRECICE lengthening device is used to gradually distract and slowly grow the new bone. Once the desired length in the legs has been achieved using the TSF, an internal rod made of titanium is placed and the external TSF is removed. This will allow much less time in an external device while supporting the new bone during its consolidation (maturation) phase.
If the lengthening is performed in the thighs, one of two techniques may be utilized:
1) Lengthening Over a Nail (LON): This technique utilizes an external device to distract and lengthen the bone, while an internal rod that is in place serves to protect the new bone that develops.
2) Fully implantable self-lengthening rod: A new device that has recently been developed, the PRECICE lengthening device, serves to lengthen the bone with its patented internal magnetic mechanism without the need for an external fixation device.
How much height am I able to gain?
If only one segment of your limb is lengthened (the leg or thigh), you can potentially gain up to 4 inches in height; however, most people are able to gain 3 inches without much difficulty or complications. With the combination of lengthening both thighs and legs, you can potentially achieve up to 16 cm in length. The limiting factor will depend on your body’s anatomy and how much lengthening the soft tissues can tolerate.
How long is the Height Lengthening/ Deformity Correction surgery?
The surgery for each limb takes approximately 2 hours. This does not include preop and postoperative anesthesia time, which can take an additional 20 to 40 minutes.
What does the surgery entail?
The height lengthening procedure involves initially placing an internal device or external frame on the limb. Then a surgical cut is made in the bone through a minimally invasive technique in order to allow lengthening or correction of any deformities in the legs.
What is the recovery time after surgery?
Some surgeries may be performed as an outpatient procedure with a 23-hour stay at the surgery center or at the hospital. Some patients may require 2-3 days in the hospital depending on their level of pain and mobility after their procedure. The day after surgery, patients are encouraged to start walking and putting their full weight on their legs with the support of crutches or a walker. The amount of time to fully recover depends on how much length needs to be achieved or amount of deformity that needs correcting. The approximate time to return to full activities is 3-5 months.
How long will I wear the external device?
Only until you gain the desired height that was planned preoperatively. Once the distraction (lengthening) phase is complete, the internal device (titanium rod) will hold and protect the new bone that has formed.
How are the adjustments on the frame performed?
A computerized schedule will be printed out for you that will instruct you to turn each strut at the appropriate time on a daily basis.
What are the potential complications of surgery?
The most common complications are pin tract infections, which are routinely treated with antibiotics; Joint stiffness may also occur, which will require physical therapy to correct. Other complications may include nerve injury, vessel injury, and compartment syndrome. Most of these complications are rare and can be treated with physical therapy or additional surgery.
Do I qualify for the Height Lengthening procedure?
There are a number of factors and certain limitations for whom the Height Lengthening procedure can be performed. The guidelines include:
- No bone disease (i.e. Vitamin D deficiency)
- No bone infection
- Patients cannot have body dysmorphic syndrome
The procedure may be performed on children as well. However, in order to qualify, each case must be taken into consideration on an individual basis. A psychologist may need to evaluate you as well before qualifying for the procedure.
How much does the Height Lengthening surgery cost?
Your initial consultation is $600. This will include the physical exam, xrays, and a discussion of the best treatment option for your surgical technique. The surgery may or may not be covered by insurance depending on your body’s anatomy. If your insurance does not cover the surgery, you will need to pay for it in full before the operation can commence. Cost of the surgery can vary from $40,000 to $75,000 depending on the procedure, which includes the equipment, surgery fees, hospital fees, and post op visits during the lengthening stage. The entire cost must be paid in advance of the operation. A more accurate cost estimate will be available once you have visited with the surgeon and determined if you qualify for the surgery.
How do I schedule my Height Lengthening surgery?
The first step is to make an appointment to be evaluated by the surgeon. Then you will have a discussion regarding the Height Lengthening procedure. Someone from our staff will then contact you to schedule the surgery if you have been accepted as a candidate.