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A Man From New York Grew Six Inches Thanks To A Controversial New Surgery

Submitted by on February 27, 2012 – 1:14 pmOne Comment

If you don’t look the way you look, there are plenty of things you can do it about it. Don’t like your weight? You can hit the gym or—if that doesn’t help—you can get surgery to help you lose weight. Don’t like your breast size? We’ve seen enough episodes of Nip/Tuck to know all the options you have there. Don’t like your teeth? Your dentist can hook you up with a nice set of braces. And, if you don’t like the way you think, you can see a therapist tomorrow to get your mind right. But, your height? Well, your height is your height. There’s nothing you can do to change your…er, wait a second. There is?

That’s right. Thanks to a controversial new surgery that’s only being performed by a handful of doctors in the United States, people can now “grow” if they’re unhappy with their height. In fact, one New York man who appeared on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday night grew six inches—and continues to grow—due to the surgery. Often times, those suffering from dwarfism are the ones who have the surgery performed. But, more and more, doctors are finding that people are doing it for cosmetic reasons.

Now, there is, of course, a catch to the limb-lengthening procedures that are taking place right now. For starters, they’re extremely painful. Essentially, they involve a doctor breaking a patient’s legs, re-attaching them with a rod, and then pulling the bone apart very slowly every day to gain up to one millimeter of length. As the bone gets pulled apart—that hurts just thinking about it, doesn’t it?—new bone grows around it and things like muscles, nerves, and skin regenerate as well. But it takes time and results vary from patient to patient.

The procedure is also often very expensive. In the U.S., it costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $85,000 to get the procedure done and then patients need to go through physical therapy afterwards, which is obviously an additional expense. Further surgeries may also be necessary and there’s no telling what other additional expenses could pop up in the future. Plus, you’ll need to buy a whole new wardrobe for yourself if you have the procedure done, which is obviously something you’d need to consider. It’s a lot to take on just to “grow” a few inches.

Overall, this is a very controversial procedure that could, in theory, have some benefits to it in the future. But, for now, it still sounds like something that’s only reserved for those who are truly desperate to add a few inches to their height. For the rest of us, it’s just a (very!) painful reminder of the great lengths that some people will go to change their appearances. And, like it or not, it seems like something that’ll only get more popular as we move forward. So don’t be surprised in a few years when the short kid you used to pick on in high school is 6’2″ at your 20-year reunion.

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