Monday, Apr. 26, 2010

Distraction Osteogenesis

For the vertically challenged, overcoming a height deficit may involve wearing elevator shoes, walking around with a Chihuahua or a combination of both. Then again, you could have your legs broken. In a process called distraction osteogenesis — pioneered by the Soviet physician Gavriil Ilizarov in the 1950s — the cortex, or outermost shell, of a bone is fractured and then artificially stretched using metal braces. New bone then grows from both ends of the fracture to fill in the cavity, while the braces are continuously adjusted to slowly stretch the fracture further apart. This cycle of bone growth and stretching is repeated until the desired length is reached. The procedure is typically used to correct bone birth defects or, for some, to add an inch to their height.