Lower limb lengthening in patients with disproportionate short stature with achondroplasia: a systematic review of the last 20 years

Disabil Rehabil. 2012;34(12):982-7. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2011.631677. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Parents of children suffering from disproportionate short stature due to achondroplasia may wish to have surgical leg lengthening carried out for the child. The aim is not to increase height, but rather to achieve physiological proportions in the body. In a systematic review of the literature on the topic dating from the last 20 years, the surgical approaches used for this purpose were analyzed in accordance with the Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) criteria. Twelve studies show that to date, involvement of the child in decision-making at the start of treatment has been expected and that it is recommended from the age of 12. In highly heterogeneous patient groups, with varying factors involved and different techniques being used, lengthening (often by more than 10 cm) is described. High complication rates are reported, with many setbacks often requiring repeat surgery. Using PALEY'S multiplier method, the expected standing height, sitting height, and leg length can be predicted and an individualized treatment approach can be planned and operative procedures could be started in early childhood as PERETTI suggests. As the patients are unable to be involved in decision-making as young children, these data may provide a basis for offering differentiated advice to parents, who usually consult a pediatric orthopedist at a very early stage in the child's life.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Achondroplasia / genetics
  • Achondroplasia / surgery*
  • Adolescent
  • Body Height*
  • Bone Lengthening* / methods
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / surgery*
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Treatment Outcome