If you've always been the one in the group that others call “shorty,” you might have spent years wishing to be taller. There are some basic tricks to looking taller, but there are other height options and a permanent solution. Here is some information about height enhancement or limb-lengthening surgery.
Why Taller is Better
Being taller isn't just a matter of being able to see over the crowd. Research shows that – especially for men – those who are taller make more money, have more dating opportunities and feel more self-confident. Men who are taller are more likely to go on for higher education. Those more than six feet tall can earn as much as $100,000 more in a lifetime compared to those 5' 4”. Taller adolescent males date more than those who are shorter. For both men and women, research showed increased inches translated into more positive emotions such as enjoyment and happiness, as well as a decreased risk of depression. Height dysphoria – being unhappy with your life because of your height – is a very real condition.
Strategies to Look Taller
Men and women have used many strategies to look taller. For women, the obvious choice is to wear high heels. However, extremely high heels are not good for the feet as they change the wearer's balance. They can also cause shortened tendons, which lead to ugly and painful bunions. Finally, high heels are not a solution for more casual activities or sports. Men can wear lifts or shoes with thicker soles. They can also choose styles such as boots that make them taller. However, for a permanent solution, the height option of limb-lengthening surgery is the best choice.
How it Works
Limb lengthening surgery uses the body's ability to heal and build new bone. It is usually performed on the bones of the leg, either the lower bones (tibia and fibula) or the thigh bone (femur). Most people who choose this height lengthening surgery can reasonably expect to gain as much as three to six inches in height. The surgeon cuts the bone and inserts a metal rod that is adjustable. Each day the device is adjusted a very small amount, putting tension on the developing bone. The body heals the bone by laying down new bone and developing blood vessels, muscle and nervous tissue in the space. Continued adjustments mean that the bones grow longer as part of the normal healing process. Once healing is complete, the metal device is removed.
What to Expect
Limb lengthening surgery is relatively simple, but it is still a major surgery. It is performed in a hospital with the use of general anesthetic. You can bear weight right after surgery with the use of a walker. You'll need physical therapy to learn how to use the walker and to strengthen the muscles and maintain flexibility. The consolidation phase occurs after the bone has reached the desired length and at that point full weight-bearing exercise is necessary to promote bone development. Swimming and similar exercises are encouraged during the consolidation period. Full recovery takes 4-6 months. Once the bone is fully developed and healing is complete, the internal device will be removed in a simple outpatient procedure.
Choosing a Surgeon
It's important to choose the right doctor for limb lengthening surgery. All surgeons must complete a bachelor's degree, medical school and a surgical residency that lasts at least five years. Orthopedics and limb lengthening surgery are both specialties and require additional education, usually in an extended period of training known as a fellowship. Make sure your surgeon has the necessary qualifications. You can also look online for information about the surgeon's education, years in practice, disciplinary actions and malpractice judgments. With any kind of surgery, experience is critical – surgery is one of those skills in which practice makes perfect. Finally, your surgeon should be compatible with you. Expect to have your questions fully answered and to be treated with courtesy and respect. A good surgeon will treat you as a partner in your care.
Although your height is genetically determined, you do have height options. Limb lengthening surgery can make a big difference. If you've ever wanted to be taller, it is worth the time to explore the possibility of height enhancement surgery with a qualified orthopedic surgeon. The potential to change your life is at hand.