Epiphysiodesis (Guided growth Surgery)
Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.
The growth plates (physes) are sites where new bone growth is generated. They are located at both ends of a long bone like the femur (thigh bone).
Staples or 8 plates are placed in the growth plates in the femur near the knee to stop the bone from growing temporarily or permanently.
There are two reasons for this procedure:
- To make both legs even in length when one leg is longer than the other.
- To straighten out the knee.
To help straighten out the knee, 8 plates are placed across front half of the growth plate (hemi-epiphysiodesis). This causes bone to stop growing at the front, but allows bone growth to continue at the back, eventually to allow the knee to become straighter.
To help correct leg length differences, the staples or 8 plates are inserted across the growth plate in the longer limb to stop growth at that particular growth plate.
Once the desired effect has been achieved, the staples or 8 plates are removed and bone growth will resume. This procedure is only effective for children at a specific point in their growth as it relies on the normal development of the bone to help correct deformities. Your orthopaedic surgeon will advise you if this is appropriate for your child.
A knee brace is needed for comfort and to help keep the knee straight when resting in bed. It may also be initially worn to assist your child when they first walk after the operation. Your child should continue to wear AFOs if previously prescribed.
Your child may need crutches or a walking frame (if they do not already have one) to assist with their walking initially post surgery. This will be arranged during your child's hospital stay.
© The Children's Hospital at Westmead - 1997-2010
This document was published on Thursday, 11 February 2010.