Leg Lengthening Surgery Alternatives: Good News

Published: 17th August 2015
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If you're considering the horrors of leg lengthening surgery, there's good news. Before, there was essentially just one method to surgically extend your bones, and that was with the Ilizarov system. The Ilizarov system is a cumbersome, bulky device that attaches to the outside of your legs throughout the stretching procedure.

Recently however, there have been numerous developments in bone lengthening surgery. Almost all of these developments involve internal devices that provide support while lengthening the bones. These brand-new procedures are minimally invasive, less painful, and get rid of the cumbersome Ilizarov system. Below are the new leg extending surgery alternatives to the Ilizarov system.

1) PRECISE remote-controlled leg limb lengthening system.

The PRECISE system was created by Ellipse Technologies who recently was granted FDA approval to market this system. The system comprises of extension rods and a magnetic actuator that is surgically implanted into the bones. Once implanted, an external remote controller (ERC) is positioned against the skin to lengthen the rods by the magnetic system.

2) Bliskunov's method

Bliskunov's method was created by Professor Alexander Bliskunov. It consists of a telescoping rod inserted into the bones. The patient makes particular leg movements that activate the rod to telescope, thereby extending the bones.

3) Fitbone

Fitbone is the world's only electromechanical device that is implanted directly into the bone for extending. The bones are cut and the extending nail is implanted straight into the bone marrow. The extending nail is connected to an induction receiver that is also implanted inside the leg. An exterior system powers the nail via the induction plate, lengthening the nail.

4) Intramedullary Skeletal Kinetic Distractor (ISKD).

ISKD was created by Dr. Dean Cole, medical director of the Florida Medical center, Orthopaedic Institute, Fracture Care Center. This is one of the few centers in the US that performs bone lengthening surgery for cosmetic reasons. The ISKD device utilizes a kinetic clutch mechanism that is screwed onto the bottom and top parts of the bone being lengthened. When the patient turns the leg, the clutch mechanism turns like a screw and lengthens the bone. The clutch mechanism also makes sure that the rod rotates only in one direction.

5) Lengthening Over Nails (LON).

LON was pioneered by Dr. Paley and Dr. Herzenberg at the Maryland Center for Limb Lengthening & Reconstruction (MCLLR). A metal rod is surgically implanted into the bone and an external fixator is attached to the bone from the outside. The external fixator pulls the bones apart, while the bone moves over the rod and new bone grows around it. After completely lengthening, the external fixator is taken out and a rod is attached to the bone for the strengthening stage. After the reinforcing phase, the rods are surgically removed.

6) Micro-wound.

This method was created by Dr. Helong Bai in Chongqing, China. It uses a fixator clip rather than an ilizarov fixator device and covers only one side of the leg and is a lot more comfortable than the ilizarov fixator that completely covers the leg.

7) Salamehfix (SLDF).

The SLDF system is a hinged external fixator device developed by professor Ghassan Salameh in Syria. It has three small arcs rather than the circular system of the Ilizarov fixator system. Since the arcs are of various size, it can fit to the size and shape of the leg and so can be worn under clothing. The arc system also enables the screws to be positioned in minimally painful areas, provides secure fixation, and permits early weight bearing.

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