Limb lengthening surgery is a complex procedure that involves breaking and gradually separating bones to increase a person’s height. However, there are age limits to consider when deciding whether this surgery is appropriate. In this article, we’ll discuss the upper and lower age limits for limb lengthening surgery and what factors are considered when determining these limits.
Lower Age Limit:
To determine the lower age limit for limb lengthening surgery, doctors evaluate whether the growth plate is closed. The growth plate is a disc-shaped region consisting of cartilage near the epiphysis, which plays a role in the growth of long bones. Height growth varies from person to person, but generally stops at the age of 17-18 when the growth plate closes. However, if the growth plate is not closed, height growth may continue until the age of 25. Your orthopedic doctor can use X-ray imaging to determine whether your growth plate is closed. It is not recommended to perform limb lengthening surgery on young people whose height is still increasing. If you still find your height short after waiting for the growth plate to close and your height to stabilize, you may consider limb lengthening surgery with your surgeon’s approval.
Upper Age Limit:
The upper age limit for limb lengthening surgery is determined by the quality of your bones and your ability to form new bone tissue. After puberty, bone quality and new bone formation rate decrease with age. In height increase surgery, bones are gradually separated by 1mm per day, and your body must form dense bone tissue to fill the gap. If your ability to form new bone tissue is low, this bone union does not occur successfully and nonunion, one of the most significant complications of limb lengthening surgery, may occur. To determine whether you are suitable for limb lengthening surgery at an advanced age, you should have a bone density, bone quality, and bone mineral density test. Share these test results with your doctor and listen to their recommendations. If you have low bone density or quality, limb lengthening surgery may be risky for you. However, even in such cases, the lengthening amount and speed can be adjusted, and some people can successfully undergo limb lengthening surgery with a good nutrition program and intense exercises.
Limb lengthening surgery is a complex procedure that requires careful consideration of age limits. If you’re considering limb lengthening surgery, you should consult with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in this procedure. Keep in mind the lower and upper age limits, and ensure that your bones are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome.