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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yuksel Yurttas

Pain Management After Limb Lengthening Surgery

Limb lengthening surgery is a transformative medical procedure that has brought about a positive change in many lives. Whether it's achieving a desired height or correcting discrepancies in limb length, this surgery is a viable solution. However, the journey can be accompanied by discomfort and pain. Effective pain management is very important for a smooth recovery and a positive overall experience. This guide will discuss managing pain after surgery, focusing on two advanced techniques: the LON method and Precice 2.


Understanding the Lengthening Process

limb lengthening process gif

Leg lengthening is achieved through a series of steps that involve breaking the bone, gradually separating the bone segments, and allowing new bone to form in the gap. Pain management begins right from the pre-operative phase and continues well into the post-operative phase.


Why is Pain Management Important?

Good pain management is key as it helps lessen discomfort, speeds up healing, improves sleep, and makes the recovery phase better. Having a solid plan to manage pain is essential to deal with challenges during the recovery process.


The LON Method: A Closer Look

X-ray images showing left femur and right tibia lengthened using the LON method
Left: Femur Lengthening with LON Method - Right: Tibia Lengthening with LON Method

The LON method is a blend of traditional and modern bone extension techniques. It employs an external fixator along with an intramedullary nail. While it's seen as less invasive than some other methods, the presence of an external fixator does make it less comfortable compared to Precice 2. The external fixator requires regular pin site care to prevent infections. Once the desired length is achieved, the external fixators are removed, and the recovery continues with the internal nail aiding the process.


Precice 2: A Big Advance

X-ray images showing left femur and right tibia lengthened using the Precice nail (NuVasive)
Left.Femur Lengthening with Precice 2 - Right: Tibia Lengthening with Precice 2

Precice 2 shows how far medical science has come. It’s known as the most advanced system available today. It offers a more comfortable lengthening process by utilizing an internal magnetic nail. It also does not require the usage of external fixators, thus eliminating the risk of infection associated with external fixators.


The absence of external fixators in Precice 2 not only reduces the chances of complications but also significantly enhances the comfort levels of patients. This comfort translates to better sleep, less anxiety, and an overall better experience.


Managing Pain: What Can Be Done?

Pain management involves a variety of approaches, including medication, physical therapy, and other practical measures to ease discomfort. Besides these, some practical recommendations can contribute to pain relief and promote a smoother recovery process. Here are 8 practical recommendations:


  1. Follow Your Medication Schedule: Strictly follow the medication schedule provided by the surgeon to keep pain under control and prevent potential complications. After surgery, while hospitalized, patients are provided with a PCA (Patient-Controlled Analgesia) device containing certain analgesics, administered over days. Upon transfer to a less intensive care setting, oral pain relievers are prescribed. Additionally, other medications are given which are effective in alleviating pain without hindering bone healing.

  2. Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation: Attend physiotherapy sessions and engage in the exercises prescribed by your therapist to enhance mobility, strength, and overall limb function.

  3. Hot and Cold Compress: Use hot and cold compresses to reduce swelling and alleviate pain around the surgical area. Consult with your medical team before applying to ensure safety and effectiveness.

  4. Elevation of Limb: Elevate the affected limb to diminish swelling and promote blood circulation which in turn can decrease the pain.

  5. Meditation and Relaxation Techniques: Practice mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to manage pain and reduce anxiety.

  6. Adequate Sleep: Ensure you are getting enough sleep as it is one of the key factors for healing and pain management.

  7. Nutrition: Maintain a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients that support bone healing and overall recovery.

  8. Hydration: Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day which can aid in flushing out toxins and promoting healing.


Summary

Pain management after limb lengthening needs careful planning and action. Choosing between the LON method and Precice 2 affects the comfort and ease during the lengthening process. With new methods like Precice 2, getting to the desired limb length is now more comfortable and less scary.


Under Prof. Dr. Yuksel Yurttas’ guidance, patients are well-supported through recovery with good pain management, making the goal of having balanced body proportions achievable. If you or a loved one are considering height increase surgery and would like to learn more about the process and what to expect, reach out to Prof Dr. Yuksel Yurttas for a free consultation at +905339735289.

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