Children’s and adolescents’ bones are constantly changing. If your child has a limb deformity, or one of their limbs isn’t growing at the same rate as the other, our team of experts will work together to provide your child with the latest, most patient-centered care. Our Limb Reconstruction and Lengthening Program offers the latest treatments to help your child be as active as possible.

Multiple conditions can affect a child’s bone growth and development, including congenital causes (conditions children are born with) or abnormalities that are caused by a traumatic injury, infection, inflammatory, neoplastic, neurologic, vascular, hematologic, developmental or post-burn disorders. A child with a limb deformity may have an arm or leg that is crooked, shortened or abnormally rotated. 

Limb deformities or limb length differences shouldn’t keep kids from being kids. Treatments may include non-surgical options such as shoe lifts, orthotics and prosthetics. Surgical options include reconstruction or limb length equalizing procedures.

The orthopedic experts at Phoenix Children’s believe children’s musculoskeletal differences should not prevent them from pursuing the activities they enjoy.

What is Limb Lengthening?

If one of your child’s legs is shorter than the other, they may benefit from limb equalizing procedures such as limb lengthening or shortening. Limb lengthening techniques vary based on the child’s age, size and associated conditions. To lengthen a limb (extremity), the bone is cut during surgery and then slowly separated over time with the use of an external fixator or internal hardware. Depending on the size of the limb length discrepancy, multiple surgeries may be needed over the course of a child’s life.

A Focus on Choice

Care for limb length differences or limb deformities can last many years. Some children need a life-long care plan. Planning for years of medical care may feel overwhelming. At Phoenix Children’s, we include children and their families in all care and treatment decisions. We start by discussing a life plan for the child, care timelines and all treatment options — from bracing to surgical reconstruction or amputation with prosthetic fitting.

A Team of Experts

We take a multidisciplinary team approach to care for children with limb deformities or limb length differences. Our team includes orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, geneticists, psychologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors, physical and occupational therapists, orthotic and prosthetic specialists, social workers, nurses and physician assistants. Here, your child will receive support from this multidisciplinary team who specializes in caring for patients with orthopedic injuries or conditions.