Bone Stretching Surgery (Distraction Osteogenesis)

Bone stretching surgery is used to correct bone length.

Last modified: December 22, 2011

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Kocaoglu
Orthopedic Surgeon

Memorial Healthcare Group
and Contributing Writer

Bone Stretching Surgery (Distraction Osteogenesis) Defined

Bone stretching surgery (also known as distraction osteogenesis) techniques are used for filling bone defects and correcting the length of bones with deformities. These bone stretching procedures can be performed on pediatric or adult patients (3 to 70 years old) with congenital disease, bone loss or unequal limbs. The bone stretching surgical procedure for extremity lengthening and deformity correction is carried out according to the principles of distraction osteogenesis.



Preparing For Bone Stretching Surgery (Distraction Osteogenesis)

All patients are required to undergo a thorough pre-evaluation to determine if they are a good candidate for bone stretching surgery. If a patient’s medical history and pre-evaluation reveals that they may be eligible for this procedure, then a thorough examination will be performed by an orthopedic surgeon. After the examination, appropriate X-rays and tests are ordered. If bone stretching surgery is required, the orthopedic surgery team and the patient will discuss all aspects of bone stretching surgery and other appropriate treatment alternatives; then the optimal surgical technique is selected and a treatment plan is created.

Bone Stretching Surgery (Distraction Osteogenesis) Procedure

Prior to the bone stretching surgery procedure, the customized bone stretching device is prepared and tested on the patient. This device is fixed to the patient’s bone with special wires and screws. The bone stretching surgery is performed through one or two small incisions of a few centimeters in length. Maximum care is provided during bone cutting in order to inflict as little damage as possible to the bone and surrounding soft tissues.

No bone adjustment is performed after the treated bone reaches the required length and alignment. When it is decided that new bone has acquired enough strength, the device is removed using local or general anesthesia during the procedure. Prophylactic casts or braces (with plastic orthesis) are applied for 1-2 months after the bone stretching device is removed.

Recovering From Bone Stretching Surgery (Distraction Osteogenesis)

Bone lengthening usually begins within the first week after the bone stretching surgery. The two ends of the cut bone are separated by a length of one millimeter each day. Patients are usually hospitalized for 3 to 7 days and a longer stay might be required in more complicated cases.

Rehabilitation is started during the first or second day after the bone stretching surgery. After a patient’s discharge from the hospital, it’s vital for patients to continue physical therapy to ensure optimum results.

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