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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yuksel Yurttas

Returning to Work and Daily Life After Limb Lengthening Surgery

Are you recovering from limb lengthening surgery or planning to have it and looking for guidance on how to return to your daily routines and work? You're in the right place! In this comprehensive blog post, we'll give you tips and information on how to recover and return to work and your daily life.


We'll also help you understand the recovery process, manage pain, and make the necessary adjustments to your work and daily routines. Our goal is to make your recovery smooth and successful. Whether you're a patient, a caretaker, or an employer, this post will give you the knowledge and guidance you need to support the recovery process.


Choosing a Method and Its Impact on Life After Surgery

In recent years, limb lengthening surgery has seen significant advancements, and today, patients have various options to choose from. One popular method is the LON method, which uses an intramedullary nail and an external fixator to lengthen the bone. This method allows patients to bear weight and walk during the lengthening phase, which can help speed up the recovery process.


Another advanced method is Precice 2, an intramedullary nail system that does not require external fixation. This method offers a more comfortable lengthening experience and leaves fewer surgical scars. In this method, patients may need to use a wheelchair during the lengthening phase and until adequate bone fusion is achieved. This can prolong recovery time as it limits the patient's mobility and ability to use their leg during the healing process. However, Precice 2 patients may receive physiotherapy during the extension phase to help improve mobility and muscle strength.


surgeon shows lengthened legs

Surgery and Recovery Process Explained

The recovery process and timeline for leg lengthening surgery can vary depending on the method used, the patient's overall health, and the length and complexity of the surgery. However, in general, the treatment of a patient who does not experience any complications proceeds as follows:


  • Preoperative tests and examinations: Before the surgery, patients will undergo a series of tests and examinations to ensure they are healthy enough for the procedure. This usually takes 1-2 days.

  • Surgery: The surgery itself usually takes 1.5-2 hours for Precice 2, 2-3 hours for the LON method.

  • Hospitalization: After the surgery, patients will be hospitalized for 5 days to be closely monitored and receive necessary post-operative care.

  • Distraction (Lengthening) and Physiotherapy Phase: The Distraction phase is when the lengthening of the bone occurs, this process takes between 60 days for 6 cm and 80 days for 8 cm (1mm/day). During this phase, patients will also receive physiotherapy to help maintain muscle strength and mobility.

  • External Fixator Removal (only in the LON Method): After the LON method distraction phase is completed and the desired height is achieved, patients will have their external fixators removed. These fixators are typically removed 1-2 weeks after the distraction phase is completed. Following the removal, patients can start walking with a walker the day after the surgery and return home to continue recovery.

  • Returning to Work and Daily Activities: 4-5 months after surgery, patients can return to their normal activities, including work and daily routines. Patients can also start walking normally and perform light sports.

  • Moderate Sports: After 6-9 months, patients can engage in moderate sports such as hiking and swimming.

  • Full recovery and ability to perform all physical activities: 9-12 months after surgery, patients are expected to be fully recovered and able to perform all physical activities including intense sports without any limitations.


Returning to Work and Everyday Activities: Managing Pain and Discomfort


Returning to work and resuming everyday activities mark an exciting phase in this long journey. It's the moment you've been waiting for. You've achieved your height goal, and now it's time to enjoy the benefits. However, jumping back into your routine right after the lengthening phase requires careful consideration and planning. The lengthening may be complete, but bone consolidation and healing are still in progress. You will gradually start to bear more weight on your legs and get back to most of your activities within weeks to months, depending on the lengthening amount and your healing speed. Here are some tips to help you manage pain and discomfort during this transition:


  • Communicate with your employer: Let your employer know that you have recently had surgery and that you may need to take breaks or make adjustments to your work schedule to manage pain and discomfort.

  • Gradually increase activity: Gradually increase your activity level to avoid overwhelming your body. Start with shorter work days and gradually build up to your normal schedule.

  • Take regular breaks: Take regular breaks to rest and stretch your legs. This can help to reduce pain and discomfort.

  • Use pain medication: If prescribed by your surgeon, use pain medication as directed to help manage pain. Make sure to take it before you start your workday, so it will be most effective.

  • Don't overdo it: Listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard. If you feel pain or discomfort, take a break and rest.

  • Use assistive devices as directed: If your surgeon has recommended the use of assistive devices, such as crutches or a walker, use them as directed to help reduce pressure on the lengthened leg.

  • Apply heat or cold: Applying heat or cold to the lengthened leg can help to reduce pain and discomfort. Ask your medical team which one is the best option for you.

  • Rest and elevate the limb: When sitting or lying down, rest and elevate the limb to help reduce swelling and pain.

  • Avoid activities that cause pain: If an activity causes pain or discomfort, avoid it and find an alternative activity.

  • Consider physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to improve flexibility and strength in the affected limb, which can help to reduce pain and discomfort.

  • Consult with your surgeon: If you have any questions or concerns about pain or discomfort, consult with your surgeon.


Everyone's recovery experience is different, and it may take some time for you to fully recover from leg lengthening surgery. But by following these tips, you can help to manage pain and discomfort while working and everyday activities until full recovery.



Gradual Return to Physical Activities and Sports

After surgery and the lengthening process is over, you'll gradually return to physical activities and sports, following the specific guidelines provided by your surgeon. Initially, it's best to engage in low-impact activities, slowly increasing the intensity and duration of your physical activity over time. Here are examples of low-impact activities suitable for early recovery:


  • Walking: Begin with short walks, gradually increasing both distance and pace as comfort allows.

  • Swimming or water aerobics: Water's buoyancy reduces stress on the lengthened leg, offering an excellent cardiovascular workout.

  • Stationary bike or elliptical: These exercises offer a low-impact way to boost cardiovascular fitness and strengthen legs.


As your recovery progresses, you may introduce more intense activities, such as:


  • Running, jumping, and other high-impact activities: Postpone these for several months post-surgery to avoid putting too much stress on the lengthened leg. After full healing and once muscles and tissues have adapted, engaging in intense sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, running, and weight-lifting becomes feasible. This stage is typically reached around 9-12 months after a bone segment has been lengthened by 6-8 cm.


If you have any questions or concerns about the surgery and the recovery process, please don't hesitate to contact us at WhatsApp at +905339735289 or via email at info@dryukselyurttas.com.

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