Fit for life thanks to FITBONE®

Hiking, sports, playing with her son, nice clothes and fashionable shoes – all of these things add a little extra to Martina Kappes' quality of life. These are pleasures which she was forced to do without for many years owing to a congenital leg length discrepancy. Martina is an attractive young woman who decided in her mid-twenties to have her shorter leg lengthened with FITBONE®, the intramedullary lengthening nail from WITTENSTEIN intens. "I would absolutely make the same decision again", she says, looking back. "Only minimally invasive surgery was necessary, I didn't have to stay long in hospital, the distraction process was largely painless and the cosmetic result was also perfect."

There are probably almost no patients who actually jump for joy when their doctor tells them they need an operation – and Martina Kappes certainly wasn't one of them. She expressed a number of fears: a complicated operation, a painful healing process, awkward fixators on her leg, a long hospitalization period and a reduced ability to participate in everyday work and leisure activities. "When I learned that with FITBONE® you can also have a leg lengthening operation without any of those restrictions, I was incredibly relieved", Martina recalls.


FITBONE®: Short hospitalization, no wheelchair, virtually no pain, no scarring

"FITBONE® is a fully implantable system that combines uncomplicated treatment with excellent cosmetic results", explains Professor Rainer Baumgart of the Center for Corrective and Reconstructive Surgery of Extremities (ZEM) Germany in Munich. During a FITBONE® operation, the intramedullary lengthening nail is implanted by minimally invasive surgery after cutting the bone in two. Only twenty-four hours later, the leg has recovered sufficiently to bear at least part of the FITBONE® patient's weight again and the first steps can be attempted with crutches. The patient can be discharged from hospital within a few days and subsequently control the distraction process themselves in the comfort of their own home. They are provided with a handy transmitter for this purpose, which activates the FITBONE® motor and carefully lengthens the nail. "About one millimeter every day, to make sure the natural growth of the bone is just right and doesn't cause any pain" Martina Kappes adds. The bone in her thigh was gradually lengthened in this way. After approximately five months, the treatment was completed and the leg length discrepancy compensated.


Safe procedure performed by experienced FITBONE® surgeons

The FITBONE® was removed again after about a year. Both the procedure itself and the implant insertion took place at ZEM Germany in Munich – a so-called Center of Excellence (COE). All FITBONE® operations at the COEs are performed by highly specialized surgeons with years of experience in the correction of leg length discrepancies and special training in the use of the intramedullary lengthening nail. "Part of the concept is to have at least one COE with experienced surgeons in each country where this kind of operation is carried out regularly", Professor Baumgart comments. Several thousand FITBONE® systems have been implanted to date, and in almost every case they have proved to be technically reliable and the operation non-critical – even where complicated procedures or axial alignments were necessary.


Yes, yes and yes again to a new quality of life

Martina Kappes hasn't looked back since: "I would absolutely make the same decision again and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone suffering from the same problem. At the very latest when you can walk again without feeling pain, you are grateful for the new quality of life the FITBONE® system gives you."


YouTube videos on FITBONE®:

Limb lengthening with high comfort – a patient talks about the FITBONE® method:

Click here to see the Video


Limb lengthening – Specialists speak about benefits of the FITBONE® method: 

Click here to see the Video



1. In 2008, Martina Kappes' right leg was lengthened by four centimeters thanks to a WITTENSTEIN intens FITBONE®.

2. During a FITBONE® operation, the intramedullary lengthening nail is implanted by minimally invasive surgery after cutting the bone in two.



Intelligent implants based on miniaturized drive technology are the main focus of WITTENSTEIN intens' activities. To take just one example: the FITBONE® is the world's only motorized, controllable and fully implantable intramedullary distraction nail for lengthening human limbs. It is used to correct leg length inequalities and joint malalignments. This mechatronic system facilitates an economical treatment concept characterized by a high level of patient comfort as well as short hospitalization and therapy periods. WITTENSTEIN intens GmbH is one of eight Business Units of WITTENSTEIN AG.