Make no bones about it

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Healthy Bones -

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For pa­tients, the most im­por­tant part of un­der­go­ing limb-length­en­ing and stature ad­just­ment pro­ce­dures is to know ex­actly what they are sign­ing up for, as listed in the in­fo­graphic be­low. Be­sides pro­fes­sional con­sul­ta­tions and ad­vice, in­ter­ested pa­tients can seek more anec­do­tal in­for­ma­tion from peo­ple who have un­der­gone the process through sup­port groups, both on­line and off­line. Screen­ing phase (at sur­geon’s dis­cre­tion)

Pa­tients are asked to write es­says on ques­tions the sur­geon has pre­pared, which in­clude mat­ters such as men­tal well-be­ing, phys­i­cal health and rea­sons they want to un­dergo limb length­en­ing.

Only short­listed ap­pli­cants are con­tacted by the sur­geon for their first con­sul­ta­tions. First surgery

The sur­geon im­plants the limb-length­en­ing de­vice.

Con­sol­i­da­tion phase (20 to 60 days)

No weight-bear­ing ac­tiv­ity or walk­ing to en­cour­age hard­en­ing of the newly formed bone.

Some length­en­ing de­vices al­low for light move­ment on crutches dur­ing this phase.

The pa­tient’s fi­nal height is mea­sured. Full re­cov­ery

Pa­tients re­turn to life as nor­mal.

Some in­ter­nal length­en­ing de­vices re­quire pa­tients to re­turn af­ter one or two years to have the struc­tural rods re­moved.

Phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion

Po­ten­tial pa­tients should: Be­gin prepa­ra­tion up to a year be­fore they in­tend to un­dergo limb length­en­ing Main­tain the body in an ac­tive re­gen­er­a­tive state to ease bone growth process In­clude weigh­tand bear­ing flex­i­bil­ity ex­er­cises to im­prove re­gen­er­a­tion rate of soft tis­sue around the bone Con­sul­ta­tion

The sur­geon lis­tens to the pa­tient’s needs and sets a re­al­is­tic tar­get and time­line for the pro­ce­dure.

At this stage, if the pa­tient de­cides to go through with the process, the sur­geon sets an ap­point­ment for the surgery from a few months up to a year into the fu­ture to al­low the pa­tient time to pre­pare.

Bones are moved apart 0.667mm to 1mm daily with a se­ries of clicks to the length­en­ing de­vice.

Sup­ple­ments with cal­cium and vi­ta­min D are pop­u­lar, but pa­tients are also en­cour­aged to con­sume sil­ica sup­ple­ments to im­prove cal­cium ab­sorp­tion in the body. In case of com­pli­ca­tion

Sur­geons ei­ther slow down or ter­mi­nate the length­en­ing process al­to­gether. Ad­di­tional surgery might be needed for more se­vere cases. Phys­io­ther­apy

Pa­tients are to per­form stretch­ing and ex­er­cises with lower im­pact than what they did be­fore start­ing the process, but slightly more stren­u­ous ones than what they did dur­ing the length­en­ing phase.

There are cer­tainly lim­its to how much bones can be length­ened, but these lim­its dif­fer from case to case de­pend­ing on how well a pa­tient may be re­cov­er­ing or how well the body re­sponds to the stress of length­en­ing.

Although limb-length­en­ing and stature ad­just­ment pro­ce­dures may seem like an ex­treme mea­sure, they are mon­u­men­tal in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life for some in­di­vid­u­als, whether they un­dergo the pro­ce­dure for cosmetic or med­i­cal rea­sons.

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