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Proven, Innovative Treatment from Award-winning Limb Lengthening Specialists

Shriners Children's experienced orthopedic surgeons are known throughout the country and the world for their skill in performing limb lengthening surgeries. The goal of this procedure to address a limb length discrepancy is clear: Improve the limb's function and mobility to help your child grow into an independent adult.

Though this can sometimes be a years-long process, what you will find here at Shriners Children's is a family – both in your medical team and with parents and children who are at different points along the same path you now walk.

About the Surgery

This treatment takes advantage of the body's amazing ability to regenerate new bone, as well as the soft tissues, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves that surround and support it. The process begins with an operation called an osteotomy, in which your skilled Shriners Children's orthopedic surgeon cuts the bone to be lengthened. The limb then may be stabilized using one of several different external fixation devices, called frames. Or, in some situations, we may be able to stabilize your child's limb using an internal lengthening rod called an Ellipse Nail. Shriners Children's has been a pioneer in using this device, which eliminates the need for an external fixator.

This treatment is most commonly is done on legs, but it can be done on arms as well.

After the Procedure

Two phases of recovery follow. In the first, the bone that has been cut is very gradually pulled apart. New bone grows in the gap. You will play an important role in your child's recovery. Our trained and certified physical therapists will teach you how to use the external or internal device to gradually and carefully increase the gap as new bone forms.

Physical therapy, whether your child has an external fixator or an Ellipse Nail, is vital to helping them reach their potential

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

Connor absolutely loves coming to the hospital. They make childhood a part of treatment.
Meagan, St. Louis
patient and physical therapist during physical therapy session

Convenient, Skilled Physical Therapy

No two patients who walk in the doors of Shriners Children's are the same. That's why rehabilitation plans are personalized specifically for your child after their limb lengthening procedure. It's easy for your physician to work closely with the therapy team because they're in the same building. That means your child's care with Shriners Children's is all under one roof.

Conditions We Treat

View All Related Conditions

Limb Length Discrepancy

Shriners Children's limb length discrepancy specialists provide high-quality care designed to assist children who have a difference in the length of their arms or legs become as independent as possible.

Limb Deficiencies

Shriners Children's specializes in treating limb deficiencies, which occur when part or all of a child's limb does not completely form during pregnancy or as a result of a major injury.

Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency

Proximal femoral focal deficiency is a malformation in the hip joint and upper part of the femur (thigh bone). This malformation results in a difference in leg length and may cause gait abnormalities.

T.A.R. Syndrome

Shriners Children physicians treat TAR syndrome, a rare disorder present at birth characterized by low levels of platelets in the blood and absence of the bones of the forearms.


Amputation due to trauma or as part of a treatment program can be a trying time for children and families, both physically and emotionally. At Shriners Children’s, our goal is to improve the function, mobility and independence of each child.

Cerebral Palsy

At Shriners Children's, our team of specialists provides individualized care for your child with cerebral palsy.


Spasticity is abnormal muscle stiffness, making it difficult for a child to perform coordinated movements. Doctors and therapists at Shriners Children’s provide prompt, family-centered care tailored to your child’s needs.


Shriners Children's physicians treat kids with neurofibromatosis by encouraging healthy growth and development and managing complications should they appear.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.