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Limb reconstruction and lengthening

Our team of expert orthopedic surgeons use advanced technology and surgical services to treat limb deformities due to congenital and neuromuscular conditions, trauma and sports injuries. 

Limb reconstruction and lengthening are used to replace missing bone and to lengthen and/or straighten deformed bone segments.

Pediatric care by Marshfield Children's

Our board-certified pediatric orthopedic specialists help patients from infancy to maturity with their musculoskeletal conditions. They are supported by the care of Marshfield Children's Hospital.

Learn more about pediatric orthopedics

Limb reconstruction 

Limb reconstruction surgery rebuilds a bone or joint using a frame called an external fixator. It is attached to the bone by screws and wires, and through a gradual process of adjusting the frame, the limb can be lengthened and straightened to correct a deformity and allow the bone and tissue to regrow.  

Limb lengthening

Limb lengthening is a gradual process that can use internal or external fixators, or a combination of both. One internal method for limb lengthening is the Precice tibial lengthening nail. This uses a telescoping metal rod, or the lengthening nail, with a magnetic motor. The nail is inserted through a small incision into the bone, and the patient uses an external remote control causing a magnet to make the Precice nail slowly lengthen. As the rod lengthens, the bone grows in to complete the process of lengthening the arm or leg. Depending on the patient, the process is approximately a year long and can be repeated if needed.

Certain health conditions can lead to very unequal leg lengths. They include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Small, weak muscles or short, tight (spastic) muscles, which may cause problems and prevent normal leg growth
  • Hip diseases such as Legg-Perthes disease
  • Previous injuries or broken bones
  • Birth defects (congenital deformities) of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, or ligament