Leg Lengthening



This procedure uses surgery and devices to correct a leg length difference over a period of time. The process triggers bone growth and soft tissue lengthening.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Joint stiffness
  • Bone length may be longer or shorter than planned
  • Muscle contraction (muscle shortens)
  • Nerve injury
  • Problems with the new bone forming

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.


American Orthopaedic Association http://www.aoassn.org 

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.orthoinfo.org 


The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca 

Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org 


Klippel-trenaunay syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/klippel-trenaunay-syndrome. Accessed August 2, 2021.

Limb length discrepancy. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/limb-length-discrepancy. Accessed August 2, 2021.

Limb lengthening: An overview. Hospital for Special Surgery website. Available at: http://www.hss.edu/conditions%5Flimb-lengthening-overview.asp. Accessed August 2, 2021.

Limb lengthening. Scottish Rite Hospital for Children website. Available at: http://www.tsrhc.org/limb-lengthening. Accessed August 2, 2021.