Optimum Muscle Form and Weight for Limb-Lengthening
Limb lengthening is a long process and for the comfort and safety of the patient that is going to have this surgery, there are some specific muscle and weight range requirements.
First of all, we would like to talk about optimum muscle form for limb-lengthening patients. For both upper and lower legs, a high muscle amount is not recommended. The amount of muscle should be in the normal range for a limb-lengthening surgery patient. The reason why is that with the increasing bone length, muscles are also forced to lengthen, and the patients that have low muscle density may reach their potential too early, which causes them to have less than their desired lengthening amount. Patients with high muscle density, on the other hand, on top of their normal muscle lengthening, they would also have the lengthening because of the surgery, which might cause bowing in their legs.
A potential patient’s muscle flexibility is more important than their muscle density. How much flexible the soft tissues like tendons and ligaments are, the better it is for the limb lengthening surgery. Therefore, it is really important to do stretching exercises regularly before the surgery.
You can ask for the pdf that shows the exercises that should be done before the surgery from our patient consultant.
Stronger the upper body, which includes the arms, abs, and back, of the patient, the better because during the lengthening process, the mobility of the legs of the patient will be limited, and all the movements that need strength will be done through the upper body. With the lower body stretches, we also recommend our patients to do exercises that strengthen the upper body.
For instance, if the bicep muscles of the patient are weak, the patient can’t stand for too long when walking with the walker, which interrupts their physical therapy. LON(Combined) patients should stand more than Precice patients because the intramedullary nail is very sensitive to weight and doesn’t allow much weight bearing. After 1 month the lengthening process is done, the patients start walking with a crutch. Physiotherapists teach how to walk with a crutch to the patients before they go back to their countries so that the rest of their process is comfortable as well.
The muscles in the upper legs, aka femur, which are the hamstrings, quadriceps, and IT band should be loose. If those muscles are too tight, the doctor may release them by making little cuts on the muscles, which is called IT band release. This helps the patient to have a more comfortable lengthening process. In the lower legs, aka tibia, the Achilles tendon should be relaxed.
If the patient was doing professional sports before the surgery, they have to give a break for 1-1.5 years, how long should the patient give a break depends on their bone union speed. You can also read our “Can You Do Sports after Limb Lengthening Surgery” article for more detail.
Our doctor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yunus Öç may want the patient to lose some weight before the surgery depending on their weight/height ratio. If the weight is too much, it may delay the bone union, and because the patient won’t bear the weight much, it may take longer for them to go back to normal life. The maximum weight for Precice patients should be 70 kilograms. This number might increase to 80 kilograms based on the thickness of the nail that is inserted into the leg but it is dangerous because it can cause the nail to bend. The ideal weight for Precice patients should be between 40 and 70 kilograms.
You can learn your ideal weight by asking your patient consultant and discussing it with the doctor.
You will be informed about the lengthening increase, lengthening process, the prices of the surgical methods, the difference of the methods, the risks of the surgery.