Limb Reconstruction

Limb reconstruction refers to surgery for correcting deformities of the bones and limbs, and is a cornerstone of Children’s Orthopaedic surgery.
As a surgeon, an important part of my role is detailed discussion(s) with you to determine whether surgery is required, what type and why.

Is there a deformity?

Most important is knowing whether or not a child really has a deformity; for example, bow-legs or knock-knees can be completely normal for a child depending on their age (see the page on “Bowlegs or knock-knees”).

Does the deformity need to be corrected?

Secondly, it is then important to understand whether the deformity actually needs surgical correction, especially as this surgery can be major and have risks of significant complications. Surgery may be required because the deformity:
Causes problems with function (e.g. a short leg making it very difficult to walk)
Increases the risks of developing wear and tear arthritis in joints (e.g. a bow-leg that could increase the risks of developing arthritis in the knee)
Is a significant cosmetic deformity that bothers you/your child.

What surgical technique should be used

In broad terms, surgery can:

Reversibly modify natural growth of the bones (
Guided Growth)
Cause a bone to irreversibly stop growing in one or more areas, to allow the shorter side to catch up growth (
Correct deformity by breaking, immediately re-shaping and fixing the bone (
Osteotomy with internal fixation)
Break and then gradually re-shape or lengthen a bone (
Distraction Osteogenesis)

The menu on the right will give you information about these various techniques.