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Oct 25, 2019 / Research & Innovation

Limb Lengthening Research: What Are Our Experts Learning?

The research conducted at Scottish Rite Hospital is world-renowned, advancing how our experts provide care. Through the six centers for excellence, our team has the ability to analyze a certain condition to determine the most effective treatment option.

The Center for Excellence in Limb Lengthening is comprised of staff from across the hospital – orthopedic surgeons, nurses, therapists, researchers and psychologists. With their diverse backgrounds and expertise, they work collaboratively to improve the lives of patients with limb length differences and deformities. Below is the latest research being conducted in the center.  

Results of Physeal Bar Resection at a Single Pediatric Institution
Patients who underwent physeal bar removal procedures were reviewed to determine how often patients had physeal growth after the procedure and the amount of growth. This study wanted to determine predictive factors for a successful removal. We reviewed medical records for patients treated at the hospital between 1981 and 2017, totaling 83 patients. The study team recorded patient demographics, the reason for needing the procedure, prior treatment, surgical details, operative complications and any subsequent surgeries.

What We Learned
From this project, we learned that approximately 40% of patients had beneficial growth after physeal bar removal. A younger age and using specific filler materials improved success rates. Other factors (i.e. gender, bar location, size, etc.) did not significantly impact growth after removal. The study team recommends standardizing treatment, monitoring growth after surgery and considering whether surgery is warranted in individual patients.

Prospective Registry of Pediatric/Adolescent/Young Adult Patients Treated for Upper and/or Lower Extremity Deformity and/or Limb Length Discrepancy
The purpose of this project is to create a registry to better understand and treat patients who have problems or deformities of their upper and lower limbs.
The research team is collecting data on patients who visit the hospital for any diagnosis who are undergoing surgery with an external fixator (frame) or intramedullary lengthening nail or rod. Currently, there are about 60 patients enrolled. If eligible, patients are invited to voluntarily participate in the study activities, which may include:
  • Questionnaires
  • Strength testing and gait analysis in the Movement Science Lab
  • Clinical photos 
The information collected will provide an opportunity to evaluate the immediate and long-term clinical, functional and radiographic outcomes of patients with these procedures. By doing this, the research team hopes to better understand how patients are impacted by these treatments over many years in order to improve medical care for future patients.

Learn more about the Center for Excellence in Limb Lengthening. 

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