Famous Scientists

Leg-lengthening Surgery for People with Dwarfism

Author: Heather Brown
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People born with dwarfism may not have it as bad today as they did several decades back. After all, with society being more open to accepting them, they are able to function just like people born without dwarfism. They can go to school to get an education, they can hold down jobs, and they can even start families. Some of them even star in movies and nab prime, juicy roles. Indeed, life is good for people with dwarfism though some limitations are enforced on them due to the fact they their condition hinders them from doing everyday tasks like normal people.

Abnormally short limbs and arms, extremely bow legs, and similar defects can make it hard for people with dwarfism to accomplish day to day tasks but a radical technique may just be the answer to their problems. This radical technique is actually a limb-lengthening procedure of which there are different types and they all go by different names. They are all accomplished in varying ways but one thing they all share in common is they involve serious pain and serious commitment from the patients and their families. After all, if bones are to be broken on a regular basis and adjusters need to be looked after every day, it is easy to see why this procedure is no small feat.

Limb lengthening procedures (Vilarrubias technique or Lizarov technique) involves people with dwarfism to go to doctors who then break the bones in their thighs or in the thighs, shins, and arms so new bones can grow and thus give the individual an extra 6-inches or 12-inches of height. Some patients with achondroplasia who have normal sized torsos but really short arms and legs even have their arms broken wherein they gain an average of 4 inches. According to experts, undergoing this procedure gives them the chance to lead more normal lives and have healthier interactions with people; it also helps their self-esteem.

However, not every person born with dwarfism is necessarily down with this technique because not only is it excruciatingly painful but it also has some very serious side effects and risks. Patients who undergo limb-lengthening procedures undergo the risk of nerve damage, infection, increased contractures in the hip, knee and ankles, and late onset osteoarthritis.

However, some people with dwarfism feel this is the only way they can lead full lives free from the limitations their condition has set upon them. The dwarf community may be divided but there is no denying that these procedures have some remarkable results.



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