Guided Growth

Also known as: guided growth surgery, hemi-epiphysiodesis.

What is guided growth?

For children who develop certain problems with their limbs, such as bowlegs, knock-knees and others, treatment can often be difficult and invasive. Guided growth surgery is a less invasive procedure that uses plates and screws to correct the problems gradually over time with hardware that guides the growth of the limbs, but is still flexible to allow things to move and change gradually with time.

What happens during the procedure?

The guided growth surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, and no cast is required afterward. The surgeon will drill holes and install the plates and screws on the bones on either side of the joint that requires correction. In the months after the procedure, the plates and screws will gradually correct the problem with the legs, but still be flexible to allow movement of the legs and joints.

Is any special preparation needed?

The child may need to avoid food, drink and certain medications before the procedure. Several tests may be required to determine if the child is a good candidate for the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Infection, bleeding, damage to the legs or failure to correct the limb problems are all potential risks of guided growth surgery.


Reviewed by: Scott J Schoenleber, MD

This page was last updated on: October 16, 2020 03:00 PM

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