Medical Q&As

Bowlegs - surgery in Ireland?

I am a 25-year-old male with bowlegs. Is there any method or operation that can be undertaken to reduce the bow? Is there anywhere in Ireland that deals with this disorder?

Bowleg is also known by the medical name of genu varum. It is a condition where the legs are bowed outwards and is most noticeable when the person is standing with the feet together just like a soldier standing to attention. It is quite common for growing children to have a degree of bowleg but this usually corrects itself as the child grows and the bones lengthen. Therefore most children with bowleg do not require surgery and to use the old expression they literally grow out of it. However, since you are 25 years old your skeleton has fused and natural correction of the defect through growth is not possible. It would be appropriate for you to be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in conditions of the knee. There are several surgeons in Ireland who would be able to advise on this matter. The specialist will decide if surgery is appropriate for you and his decision will largely depend on the degree of bowing. If surgery is undertaken it is customary to perform an osteotomy, which means that a wedge of bone is removed from the femur or thighbone. This wedge is usually removed from the lower third of the femur just above the knee joint. It is removed from the medial or inner part of the femur and the leg is manipulated into the desired position. This surgery would not be attempted without serious consideration and probably would not be undertaken at all if the degree of bowing were small.