Which limb lengthening surgery method is the best for me?
Most of us know at least a little bit about the history of limb lengthening surgery and applied methods. For those who don’t know, first limb lengthening surgery method effectively applied for cosmetic limb lengthening is Ilizarov method. Limb lengthening techniques have gone a long way from the days of large, cumbersome external fixators, which had to be carried on patient’s legs for 9-12 months or even more.
Our doctors perform leg lengthening operations using a big variety of surgery methods: Holyfix, TSF frame, LON, Precice 2 and Precice Stryde. At first sight, it might be quite confusing to see the names of different surgery methods. You might think: ‘what the hell, I just want to become taller, what are all these methods with different names and prices?’ No need to worry, in this article we will try to help you a little, to make your decision making process easier.
People who plan to undergo limb lengthening surgery can be roughly divided into several groups.
Patients who have absolute minimum budget for the surgery
At the moment, the cheapest method we offer is Holyfix method. This surgery costs 13500 eur as of March 2020. Don’t underestimate this surgery method by judging its price, as it offers huge improvements compared to Ilizarov: more compact external fixators, more comfort for patient, less limitations for movement, a reliable rod-like structure, a scale on the device that allows patients to see their limb lengthening progress. The main drawback for many patients is the long period spent with external fixators: these devices can be removed only after full consolidation of bones (which takes around 9-12 months).
If you can only afford the cheapest of the limb lengthening methods, but have enough time for this procedure, then Holyfix might be the optimum choice for you.
Patients with little budget but not much time (due to work or studies)
At the moment, our most preferred surgery method by the patients is LON. Around 70-80% of our patients choose this method to become taller. Because this method allows faster removal of external devices and earlier return to daily activities for a moderate price. By saving up some more and adding 3500 eur on top of Holyfix, you get LON surgery for 17000 eur. In LON method, external fixators are removed in 3-4 months after the date of surgery (depending on the amount of bone lengthening). After the devices are removed, with patient’s efforts in physiotherapy and exercises, it can be possible to walk good enough without support in 1-1.5 months. With LON method, you don’t need to have the external devices on your legs for 9-12 months as in Holyfix method, because the internal nails of LON method continue to hold the bone after external devices are removed.
Patients with sufficient budget who want high level of comfort and safety, and have enough time
Now we step into the arena of fully internal, motorized nail methods. Precice 2.2 method (35250 eur) comes into mind, because this technique has been successfully applied in cosmetic limb lengthening for many years. There are no external fixators that we can see in Ilizarov, Holyfix and LON methods. Instead, a motorized nail is placed into the bone cavity. The cuts, opened during surgery, are stitched immediately, leaving nearly no room for infection. In contrast, with methods which incorporate external devices, there is a small possibility of getting infection due to open pin sites where pins enter the leg.
In Precice 2.2 method, having no external device also means more comfort and less pain. It is not difficult to imagine that external devices are attached to legs by means of several pins, which enter the soft tissue and bone at several points. All of these cause various degrees of pain. Precice 2.2 intramedullary nail eliminates a significant portion of the pain and discomfort.
The only drawback of Precice 2.2 nail is its limited weight bearing capacity: patients are not allowed to walk or stand during bone distraction period, because Precice nails don’t bear weight and the internal mechanisms can be damaged, causing another surgery for nail replacement. To avoid this, patients have to use wheelchair during the period of bone lengthening (which takes around 2-2.5 months). If you think you can overcome being bound to wheelchair during this period, then this method may be a good option.
Patients with sufficient budget who also have very limited time, want to get back to their regular life in shortest time possible, and want maximum comfort and safety
At the moment, Precice Stryde method is the most modern, advanced and refined limb lengthening surgery technique available. It has the highest price tag among the surgery methods offered by Wannabetaller. However, it is an improved version of earlier Precice 2.2 method, with all of the same advantages plus increased weight bearing capacity and more reliability. Precice Stryde method allows patients to walk even during bone distraction period: patients begin walking with support from the next day after surgery, and it is possible to walk with some aid throughout the procedure. This earlier ability to walk allows patients to recover faster from this surgery, and get back to their daily routines, work or education earlier than in other limb lengthening techniques.