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Limb Lengthening Surgery

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What is Limb Lengthening Surgery?

Limb lengthening surgery is a complex medical procedure that has gained significant attention in recent years. It offers a solution for individuals who are dissatisfied with their height (cosmetic limb lengthening surgery) or have experienced limb deformities due to congenital conditions, injuries, or other medical reasons. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of leg lengthening surgery, exploring its purpose, techniques, potential benefits, risks, and pre & post surgery care.

History of Limb Lengthening Surgery

Limb lengthening surgery has been performed successfully for about 50 years in Kurgan, Russia. Also, leg lengthening surgery (also referred to as limb lengthening) is a rather radical cosmetic procedure that can make short peoples’ wish to be taller come true. Limb lengthening operations are a growing trend in the field of cosmetic surgery.

Ilizarov Method

What is Cosmetic Limb Lengthening Surgery?

Cosmetic limb lengthening is a procedure in which the major bones of legs (either femur or tibia) are surgically cut, then metal fixators are attached to legs, and with the help of these devices, growth of the bones are achieved on a daily basis. The average daily amount of distraction of bones is 1 mm. In this way, a maximum 7-8 cm height gain can be achieved on the femurs or max 6-7 cm on the tibia. These are the highest height increase amounts achievable in a single procedure, without experiencing any permanent soft tissue damage or problems with walking/doing sports. In imperial units, you can get something around 2-3 inches in one procedure.

If you are aiming for something between 10-15 cm (4-6 inches), then it is possible to undergo two operations with at least 6 months waiting time between two operations. The reason for the waiting period is that patient's bone union should be completed and the patient should be able to weight bear fully before the second operation. However, it should be noted that our patients are mostly satisfied with the result of single procedure and there is usually no need for a second limb lengthening operation. Undergoing 2 surgeries will double the costs and total recovery times.

How Much is Limb Lengthening Surgery?

Limb Lengthening Surgery PriceThe cost of one surgery is the same which is 22,850$ for LON method, 48,500$ for Precice 2 method in Wanna Be Taller in Turkey. If you choose femurs or tibia, or if you want to increase height by 3 cm, 5 cm or 7 cm. It doesn’t depend on the amount of height increase.

Limb Lengthening Surgery Process

We can examine the surgery process in three stages: pre-surgery, hospital process, and post-surgery.

  1. Pre-Surgery Process: This process includes exercises to gain flexibility, planning your trip to Turkey, Istanbul tour, physical examination, x-ray, blood tests and pre-surgical psychological evaluation. 
  2. Hospital Process: This process includes surgery and shortly after the surgery. A caregiver who speaks your language will be on hand to assist you with any additional requirements. After 4-5 days, when you are about to be discharged from the hospital, your doctor will give necessary instructions about how to make daily distractions (lengthening), how to clean pin sites and change bandages, and what to do to improve your walking and reduce your pain. We will double-check to make sure you can complete these tasks on your own.
  3. Post-Surgery Process: This process includes physiotherapy, psychological counseling service (recommended), dietitian services (recommended), accommodation. The post-operative process is particularly important where open wounds persist for a months.

What are the methods of limb lengthening?

  1. LON Method:               
    This method is the most preferred one by our patients because of its reasonable price and early removal of external fixators. Approximately 70-80% of our patients choose this method to grow taller. LON method involves the same external device as in Ilizarov and Holyfix methods, but additionally, there are internal nails implanted into the bone cavity during operation. These nails significantly reduce the time spent in external fixators, thus increasing patient comfort.              
    External devices are removed in 2-4 weeks after lengthening is finished, when there is some consolidation seen on x-rays. It takes 3-4 months depending on height lengthening goals. It is possible to return to normal daily life soon after this 3-4 month period ends. The internal nails hold the bone after externals are removed, till the bones fully consolidate. In 1-1.5 yrs time, when consolidation is adequate, the internal nails can be removed as well. Devices are removed with minor surgery (take approx. 30 mins), and patients recover quickly after that.
  2. Precice 2.2 Method:               
    This method is used in Turkey by few doctors. Motor-driven Precice intramedullary nails is fitted in the bone. It is not visible from the outside. The bone extension is performed with the help of a remote control. This is one of the most comfortable limb lengthening surgery methods. The only possible drawback of Precice 2.2 version is, patients aren’t allowed to walk, stand or put any weight on their legs during bone lengthening period as it may damage the internal mechanism. Patients have to use wheelchair in this period. When limb lengthening period ends, patients are allowed to walk again. 
  3. Precice Stryde Method              
    This is currently the most refined and advanced limb lengthening surgery method available. It is an improved and developed version of Precice 2.2 method. The main advantage is, this method allows walking during bone lengthening period, which is very comfortable for people who want to finish the procedure and return to their work and studies as early as possible. Bone lengthening is performed with the help of internal nails, in a similar fashion to Precice 2.2 method.
  4. Holyfix Method:               
    Holyfix is fully external method. It is an improvement over Ilizarov. There are rod-like external fixators attached to the legs by means of pins from the outside to the operated bone. The devices are more compact and lighter than Ilizarov frames. Patients turn screws on the device to do daily distraction. This is the cheapest method but the major disadvantage is, patients have to walk, sleep and live with these devices for 9-12 months, till the bones have fully consolidated and are able to carry weight on their own. This long period can be uncomfortable and stressful for many patients.
  5. Ilizarov method:               
    The ilizarov method is a successful orthopaedic surgical technique designed to lengthen or straighten bone and soft tissue, also this method is widely used to treat complex and/or open bone fractures. It is also the first known method of limb lengthening. Nowadays, our doctors almost never use this method for cosmetic (height increase) purposes, because there are more comfortable methods and more compact devices in use.

For more information, please see: Surgery Methods

Risks and Compilcations After Surgery

Limb lengthening surgery is a relatively painless operation with a low risk of complications. It is vital that you reside close to the hospital in order to detect warning signals before they progress, in case a big issue arises, and to receive medical care and be assessed frequently by the professional team while in the hospital. Furthermore, there are dangers both during and after the operation. 

During the consultation, the doctor advises the patient about potential complications and risks, and depending on the patient's decision, a technique for limb lengthening is conducted. For more information you can read our complications and risks in limb lengthening surgery article.

Long Term Results of Limb Lengthening Surgery

One of the most asked questions by patient candidates that thinking of having bone lengthening surgery is whether they will face any health conditions in the long term. These concerns are mostly rooted from the thoughts of the new bone tissue formation out of the broken bones would be weaker. With the information we will provide in this article based on the scientific researches and giving examples of people that had this surgery long time ago, you can be sure that this surgery doesn’t cause any health problems in the long term. Also, you can see our patients returning back to normal life on our patient gallery.

Future of Limb Lengthening Surgery

Looking forward, limb lengthening surgery continues to evolve, with ongoing research focused on further refining the procedure and minimizing associated risks. With advancements in regenerative medicine and biomechanics, the future promises even more precise, safe, and efficient limb lengthening procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is limb lengthening surgery?  
    Shortly, limb lengthening surgery generally means leg lengthening surgery and height increasing. It's a surgical procedure that can reduce or correct limb-length discrepancies or can be done for cosmetic reasons.
  2. Why do people get limb lengthening surgery? 
    People generally pursue limb lengthening surgery for two main reasons: medical conditions such as limb length discrepancies or dwarfism, or for cosmetic reasons to increase their height. These surgeries can enhance physical capability, correct deformities, or improve self-esteem.
  3. Can I get back my pre-surgery health?  
    Limb lengthening procedure and the following recovery process may take some time, but eventually you can get back your pre-surgery health and do sports that you want. For many types of sports, you may have to wait up to 1-1.5 years after your surgery. The main thing to do is to be patient, stick to the instructions of your doctor, take physiotherapy sessions and care about your overall health.
  4. How much is limb lengthening in Turkey?  
    The cost of one surgery is the same which is 22,850$ for LON method, 48,500$ for Precice 2 method in Wanna Be Taller in Turkey.
  5. Is height increasing surgery safe?  
    There are some side effects of limb lengthening surgery and these are natural outcomes, and their effects fade over time. Edema, Hematoma, Muscle Pain, Muscle Stiffness, Muscle Weakness, Nerve Pain, Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping. As the lengthening is completed, the pain begins to decline as the healing progresses. Some side effects are unavoidable but they fade away without harming the patient. 

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WannaBeTaller AI Assistant X

Hello, I am the world's first limb lengthening surgery assistant, created by the first limb lengthening facility in Turkey (Wanna Be Taller). Feel free to ask me anything about limb lengthening surgery.

This conversation is being conducted with an artificial intelligence model. The responses provided by the artificial intelligence are intended for general informational purposes and are not legally binding. To obtain precise information, please contact the patient consultant.