Cosmetic Leg Lengthening

Important facts about cosmetic leg lengthening

Cosmetic leg lengthening is a procedure that’s been commonly performed on children who have legs that that are two different lengths.  The procedure aims to make the shorter leg the same length as the longer leg.  Cosmetic leg lengthening has also been used to repair a leg after an accident.  However, this procedure is now gaining in popularity for other reasons.  Many people are now choosing cosmetic leg lengthening simply because they want to be taller.

A lot of people who seek out doctors to do a cosmetic leg lengthening are suffering from height neurosis.  This is a psychological condition in which the patient actually believes he is not tall enough.  Height neurosis can affect anyone, no matter how tall they are.  Depending on the severity of the neurosis, it is possible for cosmetic leg lengthening to cure it. 

There are several problems with the growing popularity of this procedure.  Many doctors question the ethics of doing it for cosmetic reasons.  After all, the procedure involves surgery on a perfectly healthy leg for no other reason than to make the patient taller, and the height gained will be less than five inches, usually in the range of only two or three inches.  Another problem with performing cosmetic leg lengthening for the purpose of becoming taller is the risk of infection.  The procedure is very risky, especially since you’re putting a healthy person through a procedure that they don’t technically need.  Risks from the procedure include bone infection and damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the leg.

The procedure lasts two hours and involves actually breaking the legs.  After the legs are broken, the surgeon drills small holes through the skin and attaches an external fixator device made of metal rods.  The process of actually lengthening the legs begins about a week after the surgery.  The patient will begin to turn the external pins in the legs to gradually increase the length of the legs.  This causes new bone growth in the space between the two pieces of the original bone.

Patients who undergo this procedure find that it is extremely painful, much more so than the mild discomfort associated with other cosmetic procedures.  After surgery, the patient is required to have two hours of physical therapy every day.  This is a necessary part of the healing process.  The patient will be in a wheelchair for about 6 months to a year after the surgery while the bone strengthens enough to hold his weight.

Some patients do choose to have two cosmetic leg lengthening surgeries, although many doctors will not perform both.  The reason for two surgeries is because only two or three inches in height can be gained from the bottom shin bone of the leg, and three more inches can be gained from the thigh bone.  Many doctors say that adding six inches of height to most people will make them appear disproportionate in size, but some patients feel that they simply need to be taller.