LIMB RECONSTRUCTION AND DEFORMITY CORRECTION
Deformity correction or reconstruction surgery for the limbs may be needed for various deformities such as congenital limb length discrepancies, knock knees and bow legs or due to other conditions such as neurofibromas, bone infections, tumours or traumatic injury. In some cases, previous trauma can cause a deformity when the bone heals incorrectly – such as malunion or non-union. All of these issues can range in severity, causing pain and difficulty with mobility and everyday movements like walking and standing. As these issues can also cause secondary complications, deformity correction or reconstruction is necessary to prevent arthritis and other mobility issues later in life.
How are limb deformities corrected or reconstructed?
The procedure for limb reconstruction and deformity correction will differ depending on the deformity or issue present. In some cases, the deformity can be corrected with gradual correction techniques while others will require an osteotomy to cut and move the bones into the correct position manually. Malunion and non-union may also need the bone to be re-fracturing for correction, which of these techniques will depend on your specific condition and the severity of the issue.
If gradual correction techniques are deemed most suitable by Dr Nhlapo, he will make use of either internal or external fixation devices. These devices use tension to move the bones into their correct position or lengthen one limb, slowly. By tightening and altering the fixation on a daily basis, the bone is realigned or lengthened.
In other cases, gradual correction isn't deemed best, and an osteotomy along with other surgeries such as a tendon or ligament repair and arthroplasty are the best option to restore functioning and mobility for the limb deformity.
What can I expect in terms of recovery?
Depending on the method used for treatment, the recovery process will vary. For acute deformities in which surgery is needed, recovery may take 6-8 weeks while gradual deformity correction will take longer to treat. Because each deformity is unique and the severity may differ, your orthopaedic surgeon will be able to decide which of the above treatment options would be best suited for your specific case and inform you of what you can expect in terms of recovery.