Limb lengthening surgery was developed to help with leg straightening for children who were afflicted with growth abnormalities such as dwarfism and other deformities. Now it has become a cosmetic surgery for adults who have tired of being below average in height. Surgery to become taller can be a life-changing experience. It can increase your height from three to six inches. This procedure uses your body’s own miraculous healing process to increase your height. During the procedure, a surgical cut is made in one of the leg bones. An internal device is placed that will gradually spread the bone apart. The amazing part of this process is that your body will replace the empty space with tissue, connective tissue and blood vessels. Over time, the tissue hardens into bone and you will gain three to six inches in height.
The first step in limb lengthening is to make a small incision in the front of the knee or by the hip and then surgically cut through the width of the bone to be lengthened (femur or tibia). Once the bone has been cut into two sections, the Stryde/Precice nail is fitted inside the center of the bone and secured with locking screws. The incision is then closed.
The next phase of this procedure can take several weeks to months to complete. It is called the distraction phase because the cut bone is gently pulled apart by a fraction of a millimeter at a time. Over time, the body creates new bone tissue to fill in the gap until the patient’s desired height is achieved. Nerves, blood vessels and tissue fill in the space between the bones and new bone begins to form and added height is achieved.
Since the leg bones contain bone marrow and stem cells, the best results occur when the bone is “seeded.” Seeding is accomplished by drilling several horizontal holes into the bone to expose the marrow. This allows the stem cells and red blood cells to saturate the surgical area to improve healing. Stem cells are specialized cells in the bone marrow that can perform many different healing functions. In limb lengthening, for example, stem cells can help form new bone, blood vessels, nerves, tendons, and ligaments.
As mentioned above, this “seeding” process also exposes bone marrow, which helps the body to produce new red blood cells. These RBCs help the recovery process by bringing oxygen-rich blood to the surgical area.
PRECICE STRYDE™ Nail
When limb lengthening surgery began in the mid-1900’s, large, external fixation frames were used to gradually spread the ends of the leg bone apart in order to straighten the leg and/or to create height. Over time and advancements in the medical field, limb lengthening surgery has become much less invasive. Now the devices used are internal, which allows for faster healing and less of a recovery time.
One of the most significant and revolutionary improvements is the PRECICE STRYDETM Nail System, which allows more weight-bearing after surgery. Previous systems only allowed up to 50 pounds of weight-bearing post-operatively, whereas the new STRYDETMsystem can withstand up to 250 pounds.
PRECISE STRYDETM Nail System is inserted into the center of either the femur or tibia bone. The system is preprogrammed to lengthen the bone according to the surgeon’s prescribed length using remote-controlled magnetic technology. Patients can gain over 3 inches of height with each procedure — Or up to two procedures can be done on each leg for a maximum height increase of 6 inches.