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Limb Length Inequalities & Deformities

Leg Length Discrepancy

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The ILIZAROV method is a highly successful orthopaedic surgical technique designed to lengthen or straighten bone and soft tissue.- Image of the ILLIZAROV method deviceYour orthopedic surgeon has chosen to use the ILIZAROV (Ill-is-are-off) method of limb correction. The ILIZAROV method is a highly successful orthopedic surgical technique designed to lengthen or straighten bone and soft tissue. Additionally, the ILIZAROV technique and the innovative device can sometimes save limbs that might otherwise be amputated.
 
Although some form of fixation has been used in orthopedic medicine for hundreds of years, it was Russian-born Gavril Ilizarov who is considered the 'father' of circular external fixators and the ILIZAROV method. In fact, all circular external fixators today are based on Dr. Ilizarov's work from the 1950s.
 
Taking advantage of the remarkable fact that bone heals itself by growing, or regenerating, the ILIZAROV technique can correct disfigured bones by separating two bone halves millimeter by millimeter. During this process, the body's natural ability to grow bone fills in the gap between the two bones, correcting deformities or increasing length.

The ILIZAROV method is meant to lengthen legs and arms and treat severely disabled patients with bone trauma or deformities.

Many orthopedic surgeons around the world today still use the ILIZAROV technique and Dr. Ilizarov's surgical methods. 

Use of the ILIZAROV Method

Limb length inequality and limb deformity can be due to many causes. The treatment plan and use of the ILIZAROV method will depend on the degree of the discrepancy, the age of the patient, and the underlying reason for the deformity.
 
Limb correction and ILIZAROV technique may be prescribed for a variety of conditions:
Trauma, including:
 
growth plate fractures
malunion (healing of bones in an incorrect position)
nonunion (incomplete healing of fractured bones)
shortening and deformity due to bone loss.
 
Congenital limb length discrepancies, including: 
those associated with birth defects and deformities, such as congenital short femur, fibular hemimelia, pseudarthrosis of the tibia and hemiatrophy/hemihypertrophy
 
Bow legs
 
Knock-knees
 
Short stature: 
achondroplasia and other skeletal dysplasias
 
Infection: 
involving the bone (osteomyelitis) and joint (septic arthritis)
 
Pediatric hip disorders: 
developmental coxa vara
Perthes disease
slipped capital femoral epiphyses (SCFE)
 
Joint stiffness: 
secondary to neuromuscular disease or following injury
To make an appointment concerning Limb Length Discrepancy or Limb Deformities, please call (305) 662-8366.

Additional Resources
About the Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Team

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Main Limb Lengthening Inequalities & Deformities Page


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