Lateral Column Lengthening

Click for pre-operative information

Hospital stay

  • You will be in hospital for 2 or 3 nights after surgery
  • You will have pain relief provided by an injection behind the knee when you are asleep (Popliteal block)
  • Other pain relief will be prescribed as required


  • Gauze underneath cast

Plaster cast/splint

  • Below knee plaster back slab (plaster on the back half of your leg held in place by a crepe bandage) 2 weeks
  • Full cast applied after 2 weeks
  • Full cast changed (under GA) after further 4 weeks (6 weeks post op)
  • Cast removed after further 6 weeks (12 weeks post op)

Weight bearing (WB) status

  • Non WB 2 weeks, then
  • Touch WB 4 weeks, then
  • Up to Full WB for next 6 weeks

General advice

  • The physiotherapist will help you get moving after the operation and you will not be allowed to put any weight through the operated leg. Crutches or a frame will be needed to help you
  • Once at home you must elevate your leg so that the foot is higher than the knee, most of the time
  • You can potter about the house to visit the bathroom and make a drink
  • You must avoid sitting with the foot in a dependent (hanging down) position for anything more than about 10 minutes
  • You need to move your toes at least every hour, whilst awake
  • You need to move your knee and hip by lifting up you leg and bending it at least every hour, whilst awake
  • For the next 4 weeks you will be able to rest the cast onto the ground so that your leg muscles are more relaxed but you cannot take any more than light pressure through it. This is called ‘Touch weight bearing’
  • You can be much more mobile than during the first 2 weeks and will be able to have the leg in a down position for longer periods up to 30 minutes. If the leg feels achy or tight while having the leg hanging down you will need to lift up the leg to relieve some of the pressure
  • It is still a good idea to keep your whole leg moving regularly which helps to avoid the joints getting stiff and to reduce some of the muscle wasting that is going to happen after this operation
  • At 6 weeks after the operation you will visit the Spire again and be admitted for a short day case anaesthetic. This will allow your cast to be changed and the wires used to hold the bone graft are taken out.
  • The new cast is strong and you will be able to start walking on it. You will be given a protective shoe to wear and can increase the weight that you take as comfort allows. Most patients will be able to fully weight bear by 8 weeks after the operation
  • At 3 months you will have the cast removed and an X-ray taken to assess how the bone has healed.
  • It will take another 8 to 12 weeks to get going with good function of your leg.
  • There will be muscle weakness and stiffness which will gradually improve over time and you will be supervised by a physiotherapist to help the recovery