When a child has a limb deformity, many X-rays are usually necessary throughout the course of diagnosis and treatment. At Cohen Children’s, we utilize EOS technology – an advanced X-ray machine that delivers significantly less radiation than traditional X-ray while producing a three-dimensional image for optimal reconstruction. EOS technology produces excellent images that results in less exposure to radiation for the child.
In addition, we have prosthetists on site to create customized prostheses that help children with missing limbs achieve the results they want, improving overall quality of life.
A limb deformity is characterized by any unnatural form, distortion or irregularity of an arm or leg. These deformities are caused by various things. Congenital deformities are those present at birth, such as bow leg deformity or knock knees. Other limb deformities can occur later in life as a result of fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor.
Causes & risk factors
Limb deformities are categorized in two ways:
- Congenital deformities are musculoskeletal disorders that occur in utero. When embryonic tissue does not develop properly, it usually results in a deformity.
- Other deformities happen as a result of an injury, infection or disease. For example, if a child breaks a limb that does not heal properly, it can cause the bones to grow in unnatural ways. Or, if a child has rickets (the softening and weakening of bones usually due to an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency), it is not uncommon for bones to develop abnormally.
Diagnosis & testing
The diagnosis of a limb deformity will be made based on your child’s medical history, clinical presentation of the condition, and any necessary imaging, including X-ray, MRI scan, CAT scan or bone scan. Your doctor may also recommend lab work.
Treatment for limb deformity varies greatly and depends on type, location and severity of your condition.
For a missing a limb, custom-made prosthetics are designed to allow you to regain function. Prosthetic science has made great strides in recent years so that a well-fitting prosthetic can provide a person with nearly perfect mobility and function.
For other limb deformities, surgery may be necessary. We perform minimally invasive surgery that requires smaller incisions, which means less blood loss, less chance of infection and faster recovery time. Minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of limb deformities may include:
- Taylor Spatial Frame allows your physician to correct limb length discrepancies, stabilize complex fractures and restore deformities of the arm, leg and foot with this minimally invasive device.
- MAGEC Rod offers a noninvasive way for your doctor to remotely control the limb correction resulting in fewer operations.
- PRECICE lengthening system uses noninvasive magnetic interaction for the correction of limb length discrepancies, allowing for precise lengthening of the femur or tibia without repetitive surgeries.
Traditional surgical reconstruction to correct bone malformation may be necessary and may include:
- Osteotomy is the surgical cutting of a bone or removal of a piece of bone so it can be realigned. This type of procedure may be required if the patient is older and does not have growing left to do, or if there was significant trauma to the bone and it has not healed properly. Usually, pins or plates are inserted into the bone to keep it in place as it grows back together.