The PRECICE internal lengthening process, like external fixation, works on the principle of bone regeneration. However, new technology makes bone lengthening with a telescopic nail inside the bone’s marrow cavity possible, eliminating the need for a cumbersome external fixation apparatus. This could be a solution for the rest of your life to help you reach your height.
The PRECICE nail is a titanium device containing a strong magnet that is placed inside your thigh bone (femur) or shin bone (tibia). The nail consists of two pieces, one inside the other. As one piece slides apart from the other, the nail becomes longer. As the nail becomes longer, it can be used to make your bone longer and correct a leg length discrepancy.
To insert the PRECICE internal lengthening device, the surgeon makes a cut in the desired bone creating two segments. Then, the PRECICE device is inserted inside the bone. Screws are placed through the top and bottom portion of the PRECICE device. The screws secure the nail to each of the two segments of bone. After waiting a few days to let the bone start to heal, the surgeon will activate the lengthening process with a handheld device, called the ERC (external remote controller). The ERC has two strong rotating magnets that will be placed over the limb at a marked location on the skin. The magnets can then communicate with the magnet located inside the PRECICE nail. Rotation of the magnet inside the PRECICE nail will cause the nail to elongate. As the nail gets longer, it pulls the two segments of bone apart which creates the lengthening.
The customizable programming of the ERC allows for the lengthening session to be performed at home. It creates a precision-controlled process with the ability to customize treatment in a non-invasive manner. Without any external apparatus, patients no longer need to worry about pin tract infections, soft tissue tethering, or nerve/vascular damage from pin insertion.
With bone lengthening, loss of range of motion in the joint is always a risk, but following the prescribed physical therapy regimen can greatly reduce the likelihood of permanent damage.
After insertion of the internal fixator, patients typically remain in the hospital for 1 to 3 days. You can expect regular follow up visits to the doctor to check your progress. Bone lengthening involves three to four sessions (about seven minutes each) to reach a maximum of 1 mm a day, following the surgeon’s recommendation, as well as extensive physical therapy. Additionally, the consolidation phase after lengthening (to allow the bone to regrow) is equal to the total time spent lengthening.
For example, if a patient needed to lengthen 60mm, the lengthening process would take about 2 months, with an additional 2 months to allow the bone to consolidate.
Recovery time depends on the extent of the leg length discrepancy, but the lengthening process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year or more.