Limb lengthening continues to be a real challenge to both the patient and the orthopaedic surgeon. Although it is not a difficult operative problem, there is a long and exhausting postoperative commitment which can jeopardize early good results. I aim to review the history, evolution, biology, complications and current concepts of limb lengthening. Ilizarov's innovative procedure using distraction histeogenesis is the mainstay of all newly developing methods of treatment. The method of fixation is evolving rapidly from unilateral external fixator to ring fixator, computer assisted and finally lengthening intramedullary nails. The newly manufactured nails avoid many of the drawbacks of external fixation but they have their own complications. In general, the indications for limb lengthening are controversial. The indications have been extended from lower limb length inequality to upper extremity lengthening, including humeral, forearm and phalangeal lengthening. A wide range in frequency of complications is recorded in the English literature, which may reach up to 100% of cases treated. With developing experience, cosmetic lengthening has become possible using external or internal lengthening devices with an acceptable rate of problems.Level of evidence: V.