The booming world of leg-lengthening surgery

Originally published at: The booming world of leg-lengthening surgery | Boing Boing


Is this just a weird ploy to normalize botox


For every human malady, there’s a person ready to make cash from it.


I remember being amazed by that in GATTACA but I thought it was science fiction. I didn’t realize it was an actual procedure!


The procedure isn’t new. I saw it on a documentary about various people and their experiences with dwarfism/etc almost 20 years ago. In that doc it was a HS girl who had it done.


While there seems to be a wide range of legitimate reasons for the procedure, it’s also clear the bones aren’t the only things broken inside a lot of the cis-het men getting this surgery.




Knew a family in the 70’s who had a son born with one leg shorter than the other. They were looking into this.


Pun aside, I suspect this is not quite true. I somewhat doubt that very many people with real privilege would feel the need to undergo such a painful and risky procedure. Instead, I suspect that most of the people doing this are instead doing it because they (misguidedly) believe that it is a path to privilege that they are otherwise unable to obtain.

Alan, 23, a sweet, lanky software engineer from Chicago… just under five feet six


Rob is talking about the specific financial privilege of having “an extra $75-150k lying around” to spend on an elective cosmetic procedure.

From the article:

Dr. D’s patients don’t fit into any one phylum, except that most are loaded: physicians, finance guys, actors, CEOs. A news anchor. Even college basketball players looking for a few more statistical inches, though Dr. D doesn’t recommend this.


And of course there are tech bros—a whole gaggle of tech bros. “I joke that I could open a tech company,” says Dr D. "I got, like, 20 software engineers doing this procedure right now who are here in Vegas.


I had a roommate back in '91 who had an Ilizarov frame on her leg after a serious car accident. It is not fun and it is not pretty, even after they take it off.


The scarring is impressive. I can’t imagine undergoing that as essentially a cosmetic procedure. Of course, I can’t see undergoing any cosmetic procedure. I am quite confident in my own loveliness! :grin:


A good therapist would be much cheaper and have far fewer complications. But since one of the core things broken in many men is the capacity to acknowledge emotions other than anger as being a valid part of life…


I’m not sure what the current Zeitgeist is on these surgeries. Do we ridicule when done for purely vanity reasons? Or are we supposed to support and encourage the person no matter what our personal thoughts no matter how outlandish the desired outcome?

Do I hold back my gag reflex when I see a woman with wayyyyy obviously oversized breast implants, or celebrate her bold personal path? Was Kenny Rogers a vanguard to how older men can fight the ravages of time or just rather a tragic example of what-the-fuck-happened?

Do we lie and say “OMG, you look fabulous” because they just spent how much money and recovery time only to look worse than before, but you don’t want to crush their spirit… and are secretly wishing for patient to say “the doctor fucked up, look at me!” and you go “Yes, yes… terrible!”

Being a cosmetic surgeon is like a license to butcher people.

(*note - reconstructive and gender-affirming surgeries are exempt from my dismal view)

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I used to work with someone that was considering this for financial reasons. She was maybe 5 feet tall.

She said there is actual research showing that taller people tend to make more money over their lifetime. She’d amortized the cost of the surgery and compared it to the estimated gain in earnings per the research and said that theoretically she would come out ahead. This was one of the most awesomely geeky things I had ever heard.

Fortunately, she never actually did it.


I’m the shortest male in my family by an easy foot, sometimes more depending on which relative I stand next to. I had twin nephews that were nearly 7’ at 15. It’s always annoyed me that I got the giant feet but not the legs. Despite that, even the thought of this seems horrific. I’ve read of it for dwarfism (mostly used in straightening and slightly lengthening) but that was always described as more or less necessary.

I find so many of these cosmetic surgeries really hard to understand. So much risk for so very little gain.


I compare men who wants these surgery to women who have breast implants for cosmetic reasons. Finding that others find you attractive is a real morale booster, and some people want it more than others, despite the cost, pain, and risk. Saying that my feeling of validation is not dependent on how others see me would make me hypocritical, and these people need it more than myself.

Of course, the people who would weigh others’ attractiveness heavily on raw appearance like height and breast size are pretty extreme, and crass to say the least. I usually stay away from people who openly talk about it and judge others. But whatever floats their boat…

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I get it, and obviously there is a baseline level of privilege needed to be able to afford this. Still, I suspect that if you were able to dig into the actual recipients, I’d wager if that most are insecure about the level of privilege they have (though maybe incorrectly) and see this as a path to achieving a level they believe they deserve and are otherwise incapable of achieving.

From my perspective as a 6’ 2.5" (189 cm) male, I sometimes find myself envious of shorter people. It’s tricky to fit in a car or a plane, and if I trip and fall I hit the ground faster and harder than someone with less built-in altitude.