Limb Lengthening Surgery in Cyprus
Until the late 1980s, few treatment options were available for those with limb length discrepancies, especially unequal leg length. Now, thanks to advanced technology and cutting edge techniques, limb lengthening surgery is a specialized medical field that helps the 40% to 70% of people affected by unequal leg length correct the discrepancy and feel better overall.
This week, My Kypros Home goes beneath the surface to give you a better look at the surgery options available to you if you are affected by limb length discrepancies, as well as a guide to getting your medical treatment done in Cyprus as a foreigner or resident.
What is Limb Lengthening Surgery?
Bone deformities can occur in the limbs for many reasons, from congenital disorders to developmental problems to traumatic injuries. Individuals with short stature may also seek out limb lengthening treatment options in order to achieve their desired length.
Limb lengthening surgery can lengthen or straighten the bone by using distraction osteogenesis in which doctors take advantage of the process by which broken bones heal. During this process, the bone is cut and as the bone heals, the ends are gradually distanced apart until the desired length is reached. New bone fills the space between the growth plates and creates a stable bone in its place.
Metal hardware is used to move the bone ends apart and can be either external devices or internal devices. External devices, known as external fixation, is a group of metal rings that encircle the outside of the limb. Internal devices, or internal fixation, is an expandable, magnet rod that is inserted internally through the hollow length of bone fragments.
The magnet properties allow it to be lengthened roughly a millimeter daily. Sometimes, both external lengthening and internal lengthening treatments are used to correct for limb length discrepancies.
The Overall Process
The process of limb lengthening surgery is quite lengthy and should be factored into the decision if it’s right for you. The process starts with a thorough evaluation of your eligibility for the surgery and the health risks associated with going through with the procedure by an orthopedic surgeon.
Next, the limb lengthening surgery takes place in which the cuts are made to the bone and internal and/or external devices are put in place.
Following the surgery, two phases of recovery begin. The first is the distraction phase in which the bone that has been cut starts to be pulled apart gradually by the internal and/or external hardware devices. The body produces new tissues to fill the gap until the desired length is achieved. Usually, patients are able to use crutches to walk.
The second phase is the consolidation phase in which the bone begins to heal and form new, stable bone growth. As this phase continues, gradual weight is placed on the limb and the use of crutches becomes less necessary.
After the bone has completely healed, the fixation devices are removed and the patient may continue to work toward normal functionality of the bone. The removal is often minimally invasive and relatively painless. The average hospital stay for the removal of fixation devices is two days.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
The recovery period from limb lengthening procedures is different for each patient, especially as age makes bone growth a slower, more difficult process. In general, children take about half the time to recover than adults do. After the initial surgery, physical therapy is necessary to improve movement and the amount of pressure the bone can handle.
Developing muscle strength and joint flexibility are crucial elements for recovery from limb lengthening surgery. Gradual weight-bearing and physical activity are promoted by orthopedic doctors to slowly stimulate the bones, muscles, and joints affected by the surgery. Overall, limb lengthening surgery has a success rate of 95%.
Limb Lengthening Surgery Eligibility
Limb length discrepancies require a careful evaluation by an orthopedic specialist. Some cases may not be a limb length discrepancy at all, but a different medical problem such as Scoliosis that has other treatment options. Osteoarthritis is another cause for concern.
Depending on the age of the patient and the length of the discrepancy, other treatments besides surgery may be recommended. Minor leg length discrepancies may not warrant enough eligibility for limb lengthening surgery, along with cosmetic procedures due to short stature.
What are the Risks?
As with many surgeries, there are some risks with limb lengthening surgery. It is important to discuss your health and risks associated with your healthcare provider to decide if surgery is the best option for you.
Possible risks include blood clots and nerve or blood vessel injury during orthopedic surgery and following the procedure. Infection occurs in less than 1% of surgeries, although having previously used external fixation devices may increase the chances of an infection occurring.
Another risk involves joint stiffness and soft tissue tightness as well as joint instability. Physical therapy is usually advised to help maintain movement of the body and recover loss of athletic ability. A delayed union can occur if the bone does not form during the process or takes a long time for consolidation. Finally, refracturing is a small risk in which the lengthened bone fractures and requires further braces or surgeries.
Following the guidelines of your orthopedic surgeon can help minimize the risks associated with limb lengthening surgery and help the body heal completely in the months after treatment. Most cases of patients developing complications from surgery are minor, especially with the guidance of a medical professional.
Limb Lengthening Specialization in Cyprus
Medical institutions in Cyprus are leaders for the treatment and care of orthopedic conditions. They specialize in limb lengthening surgery as well as other treatments by some of the most qualified orthopedic surgeons.
These institutions are the combination of American standards and practice in their operations and have been founded to improve the lives of those suffering from orthopedic conditions around the world. The medical community in Cyprus is making it a destination for advanced medical care and treatment for residents and foreigners alike that is both affordable and of the highest quality of care.
Medical Tourism in Cyprus
Medical tourism in Cyprus continues to advance due to its growing number of institutes with advanced medical technology. Over 80 private hospitals and medical clients and 6 public institutions provide nearly 3,000 physicians and dental specialists.
Moreover, 6% of the GDP of Cyprus has been invested in promoting Cyprus as a key healthcare destination, a value worth 700 million Euros. At the same time, most medical treatments are more affordable than treatments in other European countries.
Not all insurance providers will cover medical treatment abroad, so it’s best to check with your healthcare provider to determine the costs with or without insurance. Given the number of private and public options, you can also explore the financial benefits of various medical facilities for limb lengthening surgery.
There are many ways in which you can facilitate residency options that affect your medical expenses. If you are a member of another EU country, you do not need a visa for 90 days and with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are qualified to free essential care in public institutions.
Another option is to apply for residency as a non-domicile by purchasing property and staying in the country for 60 days. After two months, you will be granted residency status and be eligible for the National Healthcare Systems (NHS), a new system aimed to be fully functional by June 2020 which would allow you to receive primary care services without the costs.
Either way, you can be sure that your stay in Cyprus will come with the highest quality of medical treatment but also the best lifestyle for your overall health. Over 20,000 expats have chosen to retire in Cyprus for the positive influence that this island has on a variety of lifestyle components.
Services for Your Medical Needs
The team at My Kypros Home is happy to assist you in finding the best medical services in Cyprus, from the best orthopedic surgeon to medical institutions for lengthening surgeries. We can also help book your trip to Cyprus, locate a home to stay in during your medical treatment, and organize tours to enjoy while in Cyprus.
Don’t worry about the paperwork, as we are dedicated to taking care of the entire process from start to finish so that you can get back on your feet and experience the ‘Jewel of the Mediterranean.’ Contact us today to get started right away.
Limb lengthening surgery can be a step forward for those wanting to make life better when dealing with a limb length discrepancy. New advancements in the field have made this specialized surgery successful at providing a fresh start.
The medical institutions in Cyprus are excellent treatment provider options and the overall health benefits of enjoying the Mediterranean climate and relaxed lifestyle make it the perfect place to seek treatment for your orthopedic needs. My Kypros Home is ready to make sure you have everything you need to improve your health and well-being while away from home.