This surgery is performed either to correct disproportionate limbs or to give additional heights. Whatever be the approach of the surgery, the limb lengthening cost estimates to about $30,000-$50,000, excluding the preceding and succeeding medical expenses.
Limb lengthening, as the name signifies, is a surgical procedure performed for lengthening bones or correcting deformities of the limb bones which fall under the general category of orthopedics. Some people consider it to be a form of cosmetic re-development of the bone. It is applicable for both children and adults with discrepancies in the limb length, either due to congenital defects, diseases or accidental injuries. Certain controversial issues have been put forward regarding this surgery. Despite the fact that the limb lengthening cost is sky high, the procedure is associated with several risks and postoperative complications.
Overview of The Procedure
Previously, limb lengthening or simply, leg lengthening was performed in children, who have disproportionate legs. In today’s scenario, people with dwarfism get it done too, so as to provide that extra height. With this procedure, increasing the height to about 6 inches is claimed to be safe, while some people become taller by 11 inches. The principle followed is called distraction osteogenesis and comprises more than one procedural stage.
The first treatment is corticotomy that involves cutting the bone which is to be elongated. For this, the candidate is given anesthesia, following which the upper or lower leg bone is fractured into two segments. The second treatment is the distraction phase, in which the fractured limb bones are pulled apart slowly. During this phase, a slow regeneration of new bones takes place, which over time fills up the gap. The last procedure is the consolidation phase, wherein the treated bones are allowed to heal completely.
Detailed Information about Costs
Many people are showing interest in this surgery. On an average, the cosmetic limb lengthening cost is about USD 30,000 – 50,000. Nevertheless, there are other unexpected costs as well, including before and after surgery medical tests. Also, the rate may vary, depending upon the severity of the patient’s condition, clinic and service conditions. Overall, the cost can be as high as $200,000.
In general, the cost of the actual limb lengthening surgery performed for medical reasons is covered by insurance. But, it is to be noted that charges for prior consultation, psychological tests, physiotherapy (during distraction phase) and complication treatments (if any) may not be covered by insurance. Prior to finalizing the surgery, one should talk to the insurance company as regards the covered and uncovered charges of the surgery.
Limb lengthening, being a very complex surgery, requires a prolonged recovery time. After a surgery, a candidate is required to stay in the hospital for about 2-4 days. Physical therapy for 1-2 hours is mandatory in the distraction or lengthening phase, which may last for about 2-3 months. Also, the patient should go for regular follow-up sessions (after every 2 weeks) during this phase. On an average, a candidate may take around 1-1 ½ years to recover fully.
Some doctors and proponents are of the opinion that it is minimally invasive, less painful and risk free. However, this is not always the case with many patients who have undergone the cosmetic surgery. The equipment that is incorporated to support the limbs during surgery may cause nerve damage and infection. Other complications include ankle stiffness. The chances of complications are higher among candidates who are born with dwarfism.
Opting for this surgery is always a personal decision. The candidate should gather information of the success rates, the associated complications as well as the limb lengthening cost. Performing exercises is a safer approach, but the result may not be significant like surgery. Even though the surgery is becoming popular, it is a very new technique, which started only in the 1950s. Hence, it is very early to conclude the pros and cons of this surgery.