Hello. I'm sorry about your friend's situation. It is possible to lengthen a shortened limb surgically. These techniques -- which are based on the pioneering work of the Russian physician Gavriil Ilizarov -- can be performed at any age. Bone lengthening is achieved through the use of an apparatus that is attached to the leg and gradually "stretched" to attain the desired length. This process requires fracturing the patient's limb at the outset, it is quite painful, and it takes many months to complete. Furthermore, there are limitations to how much additional length can be added to a shortened limb. Finally, all contractures
and deformities (a frequent consequence of polio
) must be addressed before the Ilizarov procedure can be started.
Your friend should see his physician to discuss all options for dealing with this disability
I hope that answers your question!