Surgery to Get Taller: Procedure, Cost, Side Effects

Believe it or not, it is possible to deal with a short stature through surgery. This only means that you can choose to undergo the knife if you are unhappy with your height, just as if you are not proud of your nose, lips, or eyes. The name of the procedure is limb lengthening surgery.

Also, sometimes referred to as leg lengthening surgery, it is a type of invasive medical procedure that is designed to make the leg bones longer, thus causing a height increase.

What makes limb lengthening surgery so enticing is that it can make a person grow in height considerably. For instance, some of those who underwent it are now about three inches taller.

Also, the height increase that this surgery can produce is the permanent kind. You can enjoy your new height until the day that you stop breathing.

However, just because limb lengthening surgery can change your life doesn’t mean that it is the perfect solution to your problem with your height. It can certainly make you a taller person, which is its main benefit. However, limb lengthening surgery also comes with a few disadvantages.

For instance, it doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. Later on in this article, we will mention how much you will have to pay to go through it. So don’t stop reading now if you are interested in going through limb lengthening surgery.

But here’s a preview: undergoing limb lengthening is like buying a high-end Tesla car! Another downside to having the procedure is that it can be very painful. It can also take several months before you heal from it.

Despite the cons mentioned above, are you still considering paying for limb lengthening surgery? Then read on. Below you will come across some of the most important matters that you need to know about it. They include how it is performed, how much it costs, and what are its side effects as well as complications. 

Once you get to the end of this article, don’t forget to share this on social media. This is especially true if you have family and friends who are unhappy with their height, and they are looking for solutions to their problem.

A Brief History of the Procedure

Limb lengthening surgery has been around for a long time already. Do not assume that this is a relatively new procedure that can help short people to reach new heights, literally.

The surgical procedure for making the bones of the legs longer was invented right after World War II. It’s by a Russian orthopedic surgeon named Gavriil Ilizarov.

He thought about developing limb lengthening surgery back in 1954. This was when he was treating soldiers who fought during World War II and were suffering from broken bones.

Gavriil Ilizarov noticed that bones could grow new tissue in gaps created by fractures due to trauma or accidents. He also realized that the same happened when the gaps were created artificially, such as by means of surgery.

This is how he came up with limb lengthening surgery, as well as the device that is necessary to carry out the procedure. The said device is referred to as the external fixator.

Doctors of today also refer to it as the Ilizarov fixator or the Ilizarov frame. Yes, the device he invented for limb lengthening surgery is still being used these days.

Other than the external fixator that Gavriil Ilizarov invented, the limb lengthening surgery that he developed pretty much remains the same. So, in other words, if you choose to undergo limb lengthening surgery, your surgeon will perform a procedure that first came into being right after World War II.

In a few, we will discuss how surgeons perform limb lengthening surgery. Keep on reading if you want to know what will happen on the operating table should you choose to undergo it.

Who Can Benefit From It

Based on the brief history of limb lengthening surgery discussed above, it is clear that it was not primarily meant to make short people grow taller. First and foremost, it was intended to help World War II soldiers recover from fractures.

However, the time came when limb lengthening surgery that Gavriil Ilizarov developed was also being used to help kids and teens with problems with their limbs. No, it is not intended for those who are having problems with their growth spurts. Rather, it is for those who have congenital defects of the limbs.

When we say congenital defects, these are problems that are present at birth. Limb lengthening surgery, in other words, is being used to deal with congenital defects that are affecting the ability of kids and teens to walk. It is also for improving the appearance of their limbs.

Limb lengthening surgery may also be done on kids and teens with polio. Those who incurred growth plate injuries that affected the normal growth and development of the legs may go through it as well.

These days, however, adults who wish to add a few inches to their height may benefit from undergoing limb lengthening surgery, too.

That is if they have the money for it, and also the guts to put up with the pain as well as possible risks and complications. Needless to say, the procedure is not for every adult who is unhappy with his or her height.

If you can afford it and you are willing to go through some sacrifices, then limb lengthening surgery may be right for you. Keep on reading to learn more about it before you look for a surgeon who can perform it.

Reasons to Consider Undergoing the Knife

Are you thinking about having limb lengthening surgery? It may be because you are frustrated that none of the things that you have tried to make yourself grow taller were able to give you the height of your dreams.

Some of them may have made you taller, but only for a while. For instance, the use of elevator shoes or height increasing insoles can only make you a tall person only while you are wearing them. Once you remove them, you are back to being short.

Undergoing limb lengthening surgery may also be on your mind because you want to grow taller faster. Surgeons who can carry out the procedure say that a patient can grow a little over three inches in height in just three months.

Compared to other solutions, limb lengthening surgery can yield results quickly as well as dramatically.

On the other hand, some solutions that are available for short people may take years before they bear fruits. A few examples include eating foods that are rich in calcium, engaging in certain types of sports, and taking supplements that are for increasing the height.

They may not yield the same results for all of those who give them a try. That’s because the body of one person may react differently to them from the body of another person.

Limb lengthening surgery may be the right solution for your height problem if you have tried everything, but you were not pleased with the outcome. It may also suit you if your short stature is causing you serious problems with your self-confidence, dating life, and also career.

But then again, you should have the budget for such an expensive medical procedure. It is also a must that you are willing to subject your body to it. This is most especially true for your legs.

That’s because it is not as easy as injecting fillers in the lips, cheeks, or chin in order to improve the appearance. Let’s now talk about what happens on the operating table when someone is going through limb lengthening surgery.

How Limb Lengthening Surgery is Done

Most of the time, limb lengthening surgery is done in order to deal with congenital defects in kids. Such is to allow them to be able to walk with the help of crutches.

As a result, they can be saved from being trapped in their wheelchairs or beds. The surgery is also being performed on adults after being in accidents that had resulted in leg fractures.

Currently, some surgeons carry out limb lengthening surgery for patients who are not happy with their height. No matter the reason for undergoing the knife, the procedure remains the same from start to finish.

To perform limb lengthening surgery, first, the legs will be fitted with an external fixator. The role of this appliance is to make sure that the leg bones will remain stabilized as well as aligned after they are broken by means of surgery.

Further, an external fixator is the one that makes it possible for the leg bones that are pulled apart to stay in place as new bone tissue grows and solidifies in the gap.

Once an external fixator is put in place, the surgeon who is performing limb lengthening surgery will use special tools to break the leg bones. Sometimes the femur, which is the bone of the upper leg, is the one that is broken.

There are instances in which the one that is broken is the tibia, which is the larger of the two bones of the lower leg. In some cases, both the femur and tibia are broken at the same time.

A small piece of metal apparatus will be driven into the gap between the bones. Per day, the external fixator is adjusted to widen the gap by one millimeter.

It is of utmost importance to separate the bones by exactly one millimeter per day. Otherwise, problems may come into being. If the gap created is shorter than one millimeter per day, the desired lengthening of the bone may not take place.

Such is due to rapid bone tissue formation. On the other hand, creating a gap that is wider than one millimeter per day may cause the leg bones to collapse. This may also cause the leg muscles to contract.

Such is because new bone tissue may fail to properly grow and harden. In other words, limb lengthening surgery is precise as well as a slow process.

What Happens After the Procedure

Being on the operating table in order to go through limb lengthening surgery is just half the battle. Many things take place immediately after the surgery, too. They can last for several weeks or a few months.

Image by Stefan Schranz from Pixabay

For the next two days after limb lengthening surgery, severe pain can be expected by the patient. It is for this reason exactly why local anesthetic agents will be administered to help deal with the pain after surgery.

Most patients, after this period, will be provided with painkilling drugs that are taken orally. They will usually have to keep on taking them even after being discharged from the hospital. This is because the pain can be expected to intensify at night as well as during physical therapy.

Speaking of which, someone who underwent limb lengthening surgery will have to go through regular physical therapy. This is important as it helps the patient to recover faster from the surgical procedure.

Physical therapy also teaches the patient how to use crutches the right way. It instructs the person how to walk unassisted by crutches, too. This is particularly true after the surgeon says that it is time to stop the use of crutches.

Going through regular therapy is needed, while the desired height is not yet achieved. The gap in the bone will have to be increased by one millimeter by adjusting the external fixator.

Generally, it can take about three months to increase the length of the leg bones by eight centimeters or a little over three inches. After this period, it may take two more months for the person to be able to walk without the use of crutches.

As you can see, increasing your height by means of limb lengthening surgery is not a simple process. It requires constant communication with your surgeon and also undergoing physical therapy.

Side Effects and Complications

Because of the number of inches that it can add to a person’s height, going through limb lengthening surgery can be very tempting. It seems like it is the answer to the prayers of someone who believes that being short is getting in the way of having a wonderful dating life and a lot of success.

Unfortunately, limb lengthening surgery is not a perfect solution. No, it’s not because it can keep you from having the height of your dreams. It’s because the procedure is known to have various side effects and complications, too.

Severe pain is one of the main side effects of going through limb lengthening surgery. This is why earlier in this article, we mentioned that for the first few days, local anesthetics would have to be injected into the surgical site.

Then they will be replaced by oral painkilling drugs. They will have to be taken by the person for an indefinite period. We also mentioned earlier that the pain tends to worsen during bedtime as well as while having physical therapy.

Just like any other form of surgery, the formation of scars is also a common side effect. Scars tend to appear not only because of the incision made by the surgeon, but also the external fixator used.

The good news is that limb lengthening surgery of today involves the use of instruments that help to reduce scarring.

Other than the side effects, there are some complications that may take place, too. The risk of them happening is present no matter the surgical procedure. In the case of limb lengthening surgery, some of the problems that may arise usually have something to do with the blood vessels, nerves, and muscles.

It is also possible for the legs to become deformed. The incision site may become infected, too, which is something that can cause a local infection. This may become a systemic infection if it is not put under control right away.

Amount of Money That Needs to be Shelled Out

You can think of limb lengthening surgery as some form of plastic surgery. That’s because it helps to improve your appearance. As a result, it helps to boost your self-confidence and make a lot of opportunities to come your way.

However, limb lengthening surgery is not as easy on the pocket as liposuction, tummy tuck, nose job, or breast augmentation. These days, a lip implant can cost $2,000. A facelift, on the other hand, can cost up to $12,000.

Limb lengthening surgery is several times more expensive than any plastic surgery that you can think of. If you want to have the procedure in order to be a taller person, then you have to be ready to spend up to $100,000!

Yes, limb lengthening surgery can be a very expensive solution to your height problem. It doesn’t really come as a big surprise since it is a very complicated surgical procedure.

What’s more, not a lot of surgeons on the face of the planet are performing it. With so many people who wish to grow taller and with so very few orthopedic surgeons that can make their dreams come true, limb lengthening surgery doesn’t come cheap.

Because the goal of going through the limb lengthening procedure is to enhance the appearance and not to improve one’s

physical functioning, insurance companies rarely pay for it. This is why you have no choice but to pay for limb lengthening surgery using money that comes straight from your pocket.

In a nutshell, many things can get in the way of going through limb lengthening surgery. There are more concerns than just looking for a reliable surgeon who performs it, going through severe pain for weeks, undergoing physical therapy, and praying that complications may not happen.

You will also need to accept the fact that you should be able to afford the steep price tag that limb lengthening surgery comes with.

Before You Undergo the Procedure

Limb lengthening surgery can certainly make you grow taller. However, some downsides come with this medical procedure for adding inches to the height.

Make sure that you carefully weigh the pros and cons before you decide whether it’s the best solution for your height problem or something else.

What’s Next?

If you are looking for my story and want to know how I got taller, I recommend checking the my article:

How I Grew 3 Inches Taller


Hi, I am Greg. In 6 months I was able to grow by 3 inches. I was 5″7', and now I am 5″10′!

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