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FITBONE lengthening nail

The ‘FITBONE ® Nail’ is a very clever metal rod that is inserted into a bone and used to lengthen it. It is similar to the precice limb lengthening.

Below shows an example of a girl who had her right thigh bone lengthened using a FITBONE nail.

Photograph of X-ray of someone's lower body from the front showing their legs and hips Photograph of X-ray of someone's lower body from the front showing their legs and hips with electrical equipment attached to thigh














The surgeon will make a surgical break (osteotomy) in the bone and insert the nail. A small round (50 pence sized) electrical receiver (see the labelled picture below) is connected to the nail and tunnelled under the skin.

Photograph of electrical receiver equipment with labels showing the nail, receiver and transmitter

You are not allowed to fully walk on the operated leg until the consultant allows it. After a rest period of usually 5 to 7 days, you will use a remote control electrical transmitter held over the nail’s reciever to lengthen it and therefore lengthen your leg about 1mm per day. This is the lengthening phase.

It is vital that you do the exercises that you have been taught to keep your muscles stretched while your leg gets longer, otherwise your joints can get very stiff which can be a big problem.

When your leg has got to the target length, the FITBONE nail needs to stay in place while the new bone forms and strengthens. This stage is known as the ‘consolidation’ phase.

Whilst the nail is in place you will visit your doctor in the outpatients clinic regularly. You will have X-rays taken to monitor the lengthening and bone growth. You will then need another operation to remove the FITBONE nail. This is usually around 12 to 18 months after it is put in and usually a day case or one night stay.

Further resources

Please read our resource for more information about risks of anaesthetics.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PLR8

Resource Type: Article

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