Limb lengthening and reconstruction: Managing the impact on your family

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Discover how best to manage the emotional, social and financial impact of limb lengthening and reconstruction.

Key points

  • Limb lengthening and reconstruction is a treatment that will affect your whole family in different ways.
  • Your child will likely experience changes in their emotions and behaviour as they go through treatment. It is a good idea to plan how you will support your child during this time and involve your child’s siblings in their care.
  • Before your child’s surgery, set up a reliable network to help you with practical tasks and offer personal support.
  • Check with your health insurance provider or talk to the hospital social worker about options for covering the cost of certain equipment, medications or services.

Whether your child has limb lengthening and reconstruction surgery is a major decision that you should discuss with your whole family. Each person in your family will be affected differently by the surgery. If you have concerns about your, your child’s or your family’s emotional or social wellbeing before, after or during treatment, feel free to talk to your child’s healthcare team or ask to speak to a social worker.

Impact on your child

Limb lengthening and reconstruction will likely have a large impact on your child’s behaviour and emotions. For example, your child might become more demanding or avoid following house rules or they may become irritable or sad.

Talk to your child during the different phases of their treatment and let them know that it is completely normal for their behaviour and emotions to go through changes. Your planning before your child’s surgery should include ways to support your child before, during and after their treatment.

Impact on siblings

Siblings can have different reactions to their brother or sister having limb lengthening and reconstruction treatment. They may be strong and supportive right away or they could have trouble coping with the news and need some time to adjust.

Your planning before surgery should include ways to support not only the child undergoing treatment but also their siblings. Including them in the care of their sibling can help stop them from worrying, feeling alone or feeling left out during this time.

Impact on parents or caregivers

Your child’s greater need for support and reduced independence after surgery can affect your daily schedule. For example, you may need to adjust your working hours or postpone some activities such as vacations.

Before your child has their surgery, set up a reliable support network to help you with any practical, social or emotional needs.

Impact on finances

Limb reconstruction treatment will affect your family budget. You may need to cover the cost of certain equipment, medications, products or services, including:

  • wheelchair or walker rental
  • commode or shower chair rental
  • crutches
  • orthotics
  • oral antibiotics and pain medications
  • pin and wire site dressing products
  • physiotherapy.

If you have extended health benefits, your plan may cover these expenses. Please check with your provider. If you do not have extended health benefits, contact your hospital’s social work team for information about government programs or funding.

Return to limb reconstruction learning hub

Last updated: August 31st 2015