Limb Lengthening is possible for conditions such as bow legs (varus deformity), knock knees (valgus deformity), limb length discrepancies, and other conditions such as Achondroplasia.
Surgical correction can help treat the deformity. Thanks to the Ilizarov procedures, developed in the 1950s by Russian physician Gavriil Abramovich Ilizarov, surgeons can correct the length discrepancy, but also address any associated deformity.
Limb lengthening is achieved by gradual separation of a cut or defect across a long bone in the arm or leg, taking advantage of the body’s own ability to create new bone across the gradual lengthening defect. Surrounding soft tissues, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves also lengthen to support the elongated new bone. During the gradual lengthening the limb is stabilized with internal pins or rods connected to external fixation devices or frames. The limb is lengthened as new bone grows and consolidates in the gradually elongated interval of the bone. This procedure can be extremely painful and long with the possibility of complications. Use of the Ilizarov technique for limb lengthening in patients with achondroplasia is controversial. Because of the emotional and physical stress of multiple procedures, waiting until the person with dwarfism is old enough to participate in the decision to have the surgery is recommended. Patients can gain up to a foot in height and half a foot in arm length.