Leg lengthening surgery is performed in several countries including the US, India, Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia, as well as a few others. the procedure seems to be most popular with populations that tend to be naturally shorter, such as what is traditionally the case with Asians. a disconcertingly high level of respect for height – coupled with an immensely competitive professional arena – has driven many people living in Asia to increase their height through this type of surgery.
Leg lengthening surgery has not changed much since the basics of it were developed years ago in an attempt to remedy shortened and/or disfigured limbs due to birth defects. the patient is put under anesthesia and a large incision is made in the legs. the leg bone is sawed all the way through and then a supporting bracket is placed around the fracture that the patient will wear for up to a year after the procedure is completed. Every week or so, the patient will insert a key into the bracket and turn it just a little, which widens the area of the bone that is fractured. the body goes to work immediately “healing” this fractured bone so that over time – and with enough turns of the key – up to about two inches of height can be gained over a period of six months to a year.
But during that time, the patient often has to live in seclusion due to the large, cumbersome braces that are fused to his or her legs. Additionally, the patient undergoes an immense amount of pain during the entire time and is all-but-completely bound to crutches, as they can only put very little – if any – pressure on their legs.
China banned the practice of limb-lengthening in 2006 as the numbers of patients from the procedure that became permanently disfigured from the surgery grew to epidemic proportions. some sources estimate that as many as 30% of limb lengthening patients suffered from negative effects from the surgery.
Cost is also a factor. the price of the procedure costs tens of thousands of dollars and the price is in addition to the potential lost wages from being out of work for up to a full year following the surgery. Added to that, the excruciating pain, isolation following the surgery, and overall risk of permanent disfigurement, and limb lengthening surgery doesn’t appear to be a viable solution for growing two inches taller.