Bone growth problems can cause major difficulties for children. Fortunately, there are surgical procedures that fix these defects and stimulate normal bone formation. This article covers the various forms of bone development problems in kids and their surgical solutions, including epiphysiodesis surgery.
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What Causes Bone Growth Disorders?
Bone growth disorders can express themselves in a variety of ways. They all include anomalies in the growth plates responsible for bone growth and development. These problems are usually formed at birth. However, these can be acquired from an accident, infection, or another illness.
Common Bone Growth Disorders
- Leg length discrepancy. When one leg is shorter, it causes uneven walking and joint difficulties. A variety of reasons, including trauma, illness, or congenital disabilities, can cause this syndrome.
- Angular deformities. Aberrant angulation or curving of the bones, which most frequently occurs in the legs, causes angular deformities. Weight-bearing, walking, and joint function might all suffer as a result. Bowlegs (varus deformity) and knock-knees (valgus deformity) are common angular defects.
- Growth plate injuries. Trauma or recurrent stress on the bones can cause growth plate injuries, resulting in fractures that impair the growth plate. If not adequately treated, these injuries might result in unusual bone formation and development.
- Congenital limb deficiencies. Congenital limb deficits are the lack of a limb or a section of a limb at birth, resulting in significant functional restrictions. Surgical procedures can assist children with congenital limb impairments to improve their function and mobility.
How to Treat Bone Growth Disorders
It happens that non-surgical therapies, such as physical therapy, are insufficient or unsuccessful in treating the disease. If so, surgery is usually advised for children with bone development deviations. The following are the aims of surgery for bone growth abnormalities in children:
- Equalizing leg length. Depending on the leg length disparity, surgery can be performed to extend or shorten bones. The surgeon may utilize external fixators, internal rods, or bone transplants to establish equal leg lengths and better walking mechanics.
- Correcting angular deformities. Angular abnormalities can be corrected surgically by realigning the bones. This may entail cutting and relocating the bones and using external fixators to progressively correct the deformity.
- Stabilizing growth plates. Surgery may be required to stabilize the growth plate and avoid future damage in cases of growth plate injuries. Screws, plates, or wires may be used to keep the bones in appropriate alignment.
- Enhancing function and appearance. Surgical procedures can help children with congenital limb impairments improve their function, mobility, and aesthetics. Limb lengthening, bone grafting, and prosthetic fitting are among the procedures that can improve function and quality of life.
Commonly Performed Surgical Techniques
The surgical treatments used to address bone development problems vary according to the nature and severity of the issue.
Epiphysiodesis surgery is the surgical interruption of the function of the growth plate on the larger limb, allowing the shorter limb to catch up in length over time. This surgery is frequently used to correct minor leg length differences or angular abnormalities.
The surgical cutting and reshaping of bones to treat angular abnormalities is known as osteotomy. A portion of bone is carefully removed and realigned in the correct position by the surgeon, who secures it with screws, plates, or an external fixator.
Limb lengthening surgery involves progressively stretching the bone via a process known as distraction osteogenesis. This is accomplished by performing a controlled fracture and employing an external fixator or internal lengthening devices. Over time, new bone grows in the gap, leading to limb lengthening.
Bone grafting transfers bone tissue from one body part (the donor site) to the damaged area. This surgery can help fill gaps in the bone, improve bone healing, and cure bone abnormalities.
Prosthetic fitting may be required for children with congenital limb deficits or substantial limb length differences. Customizing and fitting prosthetic limbs (prostheses) to provide functional and mobile support is part of this process.
When to Proceed With Surgery
It’s crucial to highlight that the choice to perform surgery on children with bone growth problems is taken on a case-by-case basis. The kid’s age, general health, skeletal growth, and particular disease are all considered. The surgical team (orthopedic surgeons, pediatric specialists, and rehabilitation specialists) will work together to create a complete treatment plan suited to the child’s specific requirements.
Rehabilitation after surgery for bone growth abnormalities is critical for the best results. Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs are frequently recommended to help patients improve their range of motion, strength, and functional abilities.
Surgery is critical in the treatment of bone development problems in children. Surgical therapies aim to promote bone growth and improve function and quality of life for infants with leg length imbalances, angular deformities, growth plate injuries, and congenital limb deficits. The surgical techniques are tailored to each child’s particular needs, and complete post-operative care is offered to aid their recovery and rehabilitation.