Epiphysiodesis – What You Need to Know

The field of orthopedics has evolved so much that we have now a solution to the bone-related problems that were not possible earlier. There are techniques like limb lengthening that aims at increasing the length of a limb to correct unequal limb length. Sometimes, there is a need to slow down the growth of a limb to make lengths equal. In such cases, limb lengthening is not the solution. For that, a procedure is known as “epiphysiodesis” is done and that is what will be our focus in this post.

What is Epiphysiodesis?

Epiphysiodesis is a surgical procedure that is generally carried out in children to correct limb length discrepancies. This surgery is done to slow down the growth of the bone (generally in the leg) to allow the shorter one to catch up. To treat unequal bone length, this procedure is either done permanently or temporarily depending upon the condition of the child.

Also known as growth plate fusion, this surgical procedure is minimally invasive that aims at stopping or slowing down the growth of the bone.  Based on the situation of the child, the growth could be stopped permanently or temporarily.

When Epiphysiodesis is Suggested?

Growth plate fusion (Epiphysiodesis) is known to be one of the best techniques for the correction of limb length discrepancy that is expected to be between 2 and 6 cm at maturity. It is very important to know that epiphysiodesis should be done on long and healthy bones. The goal of this surgery is to make the lengths of the child’s leg equal. After performing certain tests, the surgeon will decide whether permanent stopping of growth needs to be done or a temporary one.

Depending upon the type of surgery, metal Orthopedic Implant and Instruments are used for the stabilization of bone fragments.

When Epiphysiodesis Should be Performed?

It is very important to identify the right time of the surgery to get better results or avoid any complications. For this, the surgeon will closely examine the child and get an idea of what could be the leg length discrepancy at maturity. This will help the surgeon decide the best time to stop the growth of the bones.

Care that is Required After Surgery

After the growth plate fusion surgery is done, the surgeon may ask the patient to come for monitoring after 2 weeks. During this session, the doctor will examine the knee’s range of motion and check the area where an incision was made. It is noticed that the patient can return back to normal activity after around 2 to 3 weeks, plus, the patient is also allowed to put weight on the operated limb right after the surgery. Follow-up visits may also be suggested after every 4 months.

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