New miracle: Leg lengthening to… 18 cm for a boy with low leg deformity

Information from Military Central Hospital 108, the correction was performed on a 23-year-old patient with a birth defect, causing the left leg to not develop, the difference between the high and the low side was 18 cm.

“This is a leg correction with a length of 18 cm, the highest ever, and at the same time correcting the crooked deformity in the lower leg” – Dr. Nguyen Van Luong, Department of General Orthopedics, Disease Military Central Institute 108, said.

  New miracle: Lengthen the leg to... 18 cm for a boy with a low leg deformity - Photo 1.

Patient before editing. Photo: BVCC

At the age of 8, the patient was from Vinh Phuc and had his left hip reconstructed. At the age of 10, he had his left leg lengthened by 4 cm. However, the left leg is underdeveloped, so it continues to be shorter than the right leg, crooked back. At the same time, the patient’s left hip joint was complicatedly deformed.

After finishing university, the patient’s left leg is lower, 18 cm deviations from the right leg. In addition, the left ankle joint was deformed, the outer ankle was pulled up to 1.5 cm high, causing the foot to curve outward, the left leg to bend backward.

With such a complex deformity, doctors have to straighten and stretch the patient’s leg and thigh in two different ways.

The most difficult part of this case is the large extent of stretching, so there are many risks such as tendon contracture, stiffness in the knee joint, poor bone healing; both stretching and correcting the deformity in the leg, and at the same time stretching on a shin that has been stretched once… Besides, the tibia in the lower leg is crooked, so it is difficult to nail the internal marrow. Deformed ankle, lateral ankle hypoplasia, deformed left hip, so there is a risk of misalignment when pulling.

Late last year, the patient began the process of correcting her own creation. He is nailed intramedullary in the leg to keep the leg straight, and the patient’s leg and thigh will be fixed with an external fixed frame. The femur and shin bones were cut apart with a small incision of only 2 cm. Every day, the patient will self-twist the external fixation frame according to the instructions and additional bone will be generated in the gap between the two ends of the severed bones.

On average, each bone that is stretched will “lengthen” by 3 cm. After three months of pulling, the doctor removed the fixator and placed a locking brace (into the femur) to fix the bone instead of the frame, and the tibia was fixed by an intramedullary nail. At this time, the patient does not need to wear a frame, can live without pain, does not interfere with knee flexion, and is convenient for rehabilitation.

After nearly a year of correction and last re-examination last month, the boy’s legs were equal, walking normally, no need to wear 18 cm orthopedic shoes as before.

  New miracle: Leg lengthening to... 18 cm for a boy with low leg deformity - Photo 2.

Patient after correction. Photo: BVCC

Dr. Luong said that there are two groups that have the need to pull the legs, including the pathological leg lengthening and the cosmetic group. The pathology group is intervention for people with two staggered legs into two equal legs. With the aesthetic group, people with short stature will have their legs pulled to have a larger stature.

Before 2011, when pulling the legs according to the classical method, ie the patient had to wear the frame for many years, the number of patients was very small, only 2-3 cases per year. Now, using the new method, the number of patients has increased, an average of 30-40 cases per year, more men than women, two thirds under 30 years old.

According to Dr. Nguyen Van Luong, leg stretching can be pulled in two places: shins and thighs. After completing the leg stretch, the patient can continue with the thigh stretch. The stretched bone is completely stable, people after stretching the bones can move freely, even kick a ball.

The best age for a person to have leg lengthening surgery is 18 – 35. This is the stage when the bones have reached the end of their development age and have good resilience. Many people who are limited in height want to do this type of surgery but are afraid of pain. In fact, patients only have pain at the incision site, or during the wearing of the fixed frame, they have foot inflammation due to piercing nails, but this case is rare.

“Of course, nothing is easy. It is not natural to increase to 6-7 cm in height. All leg lengthening surgery patients must have great determination and will” – doctor Dr. Luong shared more.

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