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As part of my NHS and private practice, I specialise in seeing patients who require limb lengthening or leg lengthening surgery. Most commonly patients require limb lengthening surgery after sustained an injury, however this procedure can also be done for patients who want to be taller. I am often asked questions in the clinic by patients who are anxious about their condition, and would like more information. I have put together some of the more common questions which patients have asked me, and will endeavour to shed some light on these so others who might be in a similar situation can benefit.
Limb lengthening surgery can be done either as a lengthening of one bone on both legs (thigh or shin bone) or both bones on both legs. The cost for lengthening of both thigh bones is in the region of £50,000 and for both shin bones £55,000. Price may vary from the type of implants used (magnetic nails versus fine wire frames) and your medical history (i.e. pre-existing medical conditions which could make the procedure more difficult).
Insertion of the nails and surgical breaks of the bones is painful but not as much as when the leg is broken in an accident. You will require painkillers post surgery and during the lengthening certainly. Our experience is that the requirement for pain relief in limb lengthening surgery is moderate compared to other procedures in limb reconstruction surgery.
When the new bone which forms is fully ‘consolidated’ you can return to any activities you were enjoying prior to limb lengthening surgery. Initially you will need to adjust to the new length of your muscles but it shouldn’t take you long. Also the muscles will be initially weaker but with exercising you will regain the strength.
In my experience, limb lengthening surgery is a safe procedure with a very low risk of complications. The main risk we find in limb lengthening surgery is that there is no growth of new bone at the site where the bone was broken. This then means we have to return the bones to their original positions, and retry the lengthening procedure.
All surgery comes with general risks such as the risk of bleeding, infection etc, and limb lengthening surgery is no different. We will take every precaution to minimise these risks at every stage. During your consultation we will go through these in detail as part of the consenting process.