What is limb reconstruction ?
Dr. Cherry Cherian Kovoor, Associate Consultant-Paediatric Orthopaedic
Limb reconstruction is the process of bringing an abnormal limb back to normal as far as possible. The limb may be abnormal due to injury resulting in loss of part of bone, infection leading to loss of bone, bent limb caused by birth disorders, infection, growth problems.
Limb may also be shortened and deformed due to many causes- from birth [ congenital], due to infection , injury and problems due to growth. A shortened or deformed limb is not only cosmetically bad but also functionally disabling.
Also normal short height always has been a draw back for many people. Although not routinely recommended there is a place for judicious height increase in normal people by lengthening the leg bone. In select patients up to 4 inches height can be obtained.
Till a few years ago there was no satisfactory answer to these problems. These problems were treated by conventional methods which produced less than satisfactory results. Advances in bone and soft tissue regeneration has enabled us to treat many of these problems well
All these problems are corrected by the aid of a remarkable property of bone and soft tissues to grow by a mechanism called distraction histogenesis, The bone is gently cut and gradually separated by means of an externally applied force with the aid of an apparatus called Ilizarov ring fixator. As the bone gap increases new bone is formed in the gap thus enabling lengthening of the limb. In addition to new bone forming the muscles , blood vessels and nerves lengthen by cell multiplication. The same method can be used to correct soft tissue deformities like recurred clubfoot and other limb deformities