Author: Dimitrios Giotikas MD, PhD
After the end of the latency period, approximately 7 days postoperatively, the lengthening phase of the bone is started. By that time you will have learned how to use the ERC device properly. The rate of lengthening is approximately 1mm /day. It can be accelerated or delayed as per doctor’s advice according to the progress.
Physiotherapy session is done every day. The goal of physiotherapy is to preserve the ROM of the joints of the knee, hip and ankle and to stretch the muscles and tendons.
Pain is very subjective and the pain threshold vary between people. Each person deals with it in different ways. Our patients are on regular pain medication throughout the lengthening period which last 6-7 weeks. Most patients are more comfortable after the 5th week.
Follow up appointments & Complications.
Follow up appointments with x-rays during lengthening are scheduled every two weeks. The doctor assess the clinical condition of your limb in terms of pain, swelling, signs of infection. He also confirms on the x-rays that the lengthening progresses as planned. Specifically, he measures the length of distraction ad assesses the degree of maturity of the "regenerate" (the newly formed bone in the area of distraction). This assessment of the regenerate maturity requires experience and it is very crucial as it dictates the further strategy of lengthening (sometimes we need to accelerate or reduce the rate of lengthening).
After the completion of lengthening phase the patient may return home with special instructions.. Physiotherapy is continued. You will need to send an x-ray every two weeks.