Promoting a Positive Attitude in Pediatric Patients Undergoing Limb Lengthening

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Pediatric patients undergoing external fixation for limb lengthening have to adjust to having the devices on their extremities for many months. This treatment requires a great deal of time and commitment from both the child and family in managing the device. Our hospital interdisciplinary limb lengthening (LLD) team discovered that having the patient and family involved is the key to getting children to resume their home routines. The team also discovered that since children's locus of control develops as they mature, the LLD process could give these patients a greater opportunity to develop an internal (“I'm in charge”) rather than an external (“powerful others”) locus of control. Therefore, it is essential to include the patient and family as part of the interdisciplinary team so that a positive psychologic outcome to limb lengthening can be attained.

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