When a bone breaks, it naturally regenerates to fix the fracture. This 'skill' has served so that the experts for some time have managed to make them grow beyond their usual size with the aim of, among other points, helping the ppeople with limbs that have a short pathological size, or that have length differences between them.
This surgical technique is known as ‘bone lengthening’ and is usually performed more frequently among the people with bone dysplasia or achondroplasia, "with the aim that they can reach a height in the average of the general population," explains Dr. Javier Downey, a member of the Pediatric Traumatology Unit of the Quirónsalud Sagrado Corazón Hospital in Seville, an expert in this type of surgery.
With this technique can grow up to 16 centimeters, according to the surgeon, while specifying that the profile of patients who generally undergo this type of intervention are men aged 20 to 40 years. "These suffer from a condition called 'height dysphoria', a psychological pathology that does not improve until the person who suffers it increases its height, "Downey adds.
In the case of women, this surgeon stresses that they have the advantage of being able to wear high heels to hide short stature, "so the number of female patients who intervene is smaller. "
What does this operation consist of?
From the North American Paley Institute, a center to which the Bone Deformities Unit of the Pediatric Traumatology Service of Sacred Heart Chiropractic in which Downey works, a pioneer center in these techniques, explains: "The bone regenerates while the segments thereof they are separated slowly, giving rise to a linkage of the same. It basically consists of modify the length of the bone that has not developed normally, or that has suffered some type of pathology able to modify its integrity, although sometimes the performance may be indicated on the seemingly normal bone ”, remarks.
"The bone regenerates while the segments of the bone are slowly separated"
The surgeon points out that bone lengthening interventions were traditionally done with external fixators, which entailed an increased risk of infections and fracturesIn addition to inconvenience due to the presence of nails and wires that crossed the skin and muscle.
The ultimate in bone lengthening
However, his team at the Quirónsalud Sagrado Corazón Hospital in Seville has performed for the first time in Spain a bone lengthening surgery with a steel nail, a new technique with which everything remains inside the bone, and with it, complications are reduced and patients gain mobility. It was about a 14-year-old patient who has managed to increase her height by eight centimeters.
"The novelty of this intervention is in the steel nail ('Precice Stryde'), more rigid, than allows the patient to stand up the next day of the intervention and, therefore, to begin the recovery immediately ", emphasizes the member of the Pediatric Traumatology Unit of Sacred Heart Quirónsalud, who has strictly followed the technique of the American Paley Institute.
In previous cases, Downey states that titanium nails were used that did not allow the patient to stand up until the bone was consolidated, which delayed recovery for several months. The patient with the centimeters gained in this intervention will achieve a height of 1.56 meters.
Specifically, the specialist clarifies that the lengthening nail, placed inside the bone, has an internal mechanism that, stimulated by an external unit, It extends to the mode of the old vehicle antennas.
"The bone lengthens at a rate of one millimeter a day and, once it has reached the prescribed length, it should wait until it consolidates or heals. This process can take several months., according to the desired length. As a general rule, it is usually one month for every elongated centimeter, "says Downey.