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What are the Long Term Effects of Bone Lengthening?

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The patients who complain about short stature and think having lenghtening surgery are generally wonder that whether they will face any health conditions in the long term after the surgery. The main reason of these concerns derive from the thoughts of new bone tissue formation out of the broken bones would be weaker.  You can find detailed information in our article which provides scientific researches and examples of people that had this surgery. But before reading the article, you should know that limb lenghtening surgery doesn't cause any health problems in the long term. 

What are the Long Term Effects of Bone Lengthening?

You can see the before and after image of our patient Nicholas, who healthily increased his height for 11.5 cm (4.5 inches) with two surgeries, above. Furthermore, don't forget to check out his youtube channel, in which he talks about his lengthening process in detail.

Is Limb Lengthening Surgery Safe for Long Term?

Patients who complain about being short generally wonder process of the lenghtening surgery. Actually this surgery can be applied in two ways. First, if the surgery is being done on the upper legs, then the femur bone will be operated. In the second option, if the surgery is being done on the lower legs, then the tibia bone will be operated. 

During the lenghtening surgery, the bones get broken carefully by the doctor and the intramedullary nail is inserted in the cavity. Based on the lenghtening method which the operation is done with, either an external fixator gets attached to the leg; or the surgery ends with only inserting the intramedullary nail. There arw two ways which are applied in this process. 

  1. With the LON (Combined) Method, the external device’s key is turned as daily in order to extend the leg 1 mm. 
  2. With the Precice 2.2 Method, a magnetic device which is called External Remote Controller (ERC) is put on the patient’s leg and the 1 mm daily lenghtening is provided turning the nail inside.

The lenghtening process takes for 3 months for both methods. Once the lengtening process is over and the patient gets device removal surgery, the bone union process begins. 

A proper lengthening procedure greatly affects the rapidity and overall health of the patient's bone fusion process. A tailored physical therapy regimen during the lengthening phase is crucial for the patient. Through physical therapy, patients often experience accelerated healing and diminished pain. For an in-depth discussion on this, please refer to our article titled "Pain after Limb Lengthening Surgery." For those undergoing LON (Combined) procedures, physical therapy combined with appropriate medical dressings can stave off multiple complications. Nonetheless, this article primarily delves into the topic of whether the newly formed bone tissue maintains its original strength and health post-surgery.

Does Limb Lengthening Make the Bones Weaker?

There is a scientific research about this topic that is published by JBMR (Journal of Bone and Mineral Research) in 2009, which is a part of ASBMR (The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research). In this research, the new bone formation, the healing of the tissues and their change overtime of a limb lengthening patient that is lengthening with the LON method is being examined. You can view the X-Ray of one of our limb lengthening patients that is similar to the subject of the research.

Does Limb Lengthening Make the Bones Weaker?

A quote from the research that summarizes the whole study; ''The variety of cell types expressing mRNA encoding bone matrix proteins in distraction osteogenesis was much greater than that detected in the embryonic bone formation and fracture healing process. Moreover, the levels of OPN, ON, MGP, and OC mRNA expression markedly increased during the distraction phase. These results suggested that mechanical tension-stress modulates cell shape and phenotype, and stimulates the expression of the mRNA for bone matrix proteins.''

We would like to explain it; during the bone distraction phase, the cell type variety that forms the mRNA (the Messenger RNA that provides the genetic information to the protein cells) was much more than it was during the embryonic bone formation and the bone healing processes. In addition, the formation of the OPN, ON, MGP and OC mRNA have increased tremendously. 

The data shows that the daily 1 mm lengthening shapes the cell type, phenotype and the mRNA gets stimulated for the bone matrix proteins. In conclusion, this research examines that the newly formed bone tissues after the limb lengthening are stronger than a normal bone or a bone that has been broken before, in terms of structure, mineral density and solidity. The reason for this is that while the bone tissues renew themselves during the lengthening process, the information transfer between the cells and the protein synthesis helps the newly formed bone tissues to be stronger than ever. The bone tissue is a rare body tissue that can renew itself to be stronger than before and this scientific study proves it.

The patients can go back to their daily lives and the sports they used to do once the bone union process is completed fully. Therefore, there is no need to worry for if limb lengthening causes problems when older; such as osteoarthritis. You can watch the activities that our coordinator, who had limb lengthening surgery in 2015, does in the video below;

If you used to do Professional sports before the surgery, you can go back to it as the doctor permits after the bone union.

Does Limb-Lengthening Surgery Affect Genetics?

Does Limb-Lengthening Surgery Affect Genetics?

Another question that most candidates of cosmetic limb lengthening surgery ask is whether the lengthened body parts cause a genetic alternation that affect the transfer of the information to the next generation or not. Cosmetic surgeries do change the body tissues but it is not possible for them to cause a genetic alteration because the altered cells with the cosmetic surgeries affect the appearance but it doesn’t change the DNA.

Cosmetic limb lengthening surgery cannot cause the next generation to be taller. Although information transfer happens during the new bone tissue formation with the mRNA, it doesn’t cause any DNA change.

What are the Disadvantages of Bone Lengthening?

Like with every surgery, bone lengthening has some short-term side effects as well; however, like we’ve mentioned before in this article, in order to avoid serious complications, the patient should pay extra attention to physical therapy and medical dressing during the lengthening process. In addition, our doctor Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yunus Öç’s complication rate is extremely low, therefore, you can have your limb lengthening process with us in peace.

These are the short-term side effects that can occur during the lengthening process;

  • Swelling and oedema
  • Sleeping problems
  • Muscle pain, weakness or rigor
  • Nerve entrapment

For sleeping problems, the patient can be given sleeping pills under the doctor’s supervision. The other side-effects that are mentioned above can be solved during the physical therapy sessions. Furthermore, our Precice patients can also have Hydrotherapy during their lengthening process, which helps pain and muscle problems a great deal.

If the medical dressing is not done properly and regularly, it may cause bone infection; however, with the doctor’s early diagnosis, the patient uses antibiotics and recovers from it. 

In addition, if the patient has a leg deformity like bowlegs or knock knees, our doctor is able to heal it during the limb lengthening surgery so that the patient is able to both increase their height and heal their deformity. We have seen this example with many of our patients and with the treatment, they achieve an aesthetically pleasing and healthy look.

As you can observe from the scientific data and real, living examples limb lengthening doesn’t cause any permanent damage. A patient that follows the instructions of the doctor and physiotherapists during the process doesn’t face with any serious problems, even if they do, they can be easily treated. If you would like to get more information about limb lengthening surgery, please contact our patient consultant.

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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.