Leg-lengthening procedures are on the rise and have become popular among men, a doctor has said.
Limb-lengthening surgery is a procedure which makes an arm or a leg bone longer – and is also used to treat skeletal dysplasia, bone growth issues and bone length differences.
The surgery costs thousands of dollars and can be an intense process.
However, it has become popular and accepted in the last five years, according to Dr Shahab Mahboubian, a surgeon at the Height Lengthening Institute in Burbank, California.
“I even have 60 to 65-year-old guys that have come to me to undergo the procedure because it just doesn’t stop.
“The ‘short’ jokes keep going on and they feel inferior,” Dr Mahboubian told NBC News.
Dr Mahboubian said he expects to perform 50 height-lengthening operations this year, more than double the 20 he did three years ago.
What does the surgery involve?
Limb-lengthening is done as a gradual process so that the bones and soft tissue – skin, muscles and nerves – can slowly increase in length.
According to the International Center for Limb Lengthening, the process typically takes several months.
During the surgery, doctors cut the bone to create two different segments and an orthopaedic lengthening device is inserted into the bone.
External fixators are also placed outside of the limb.
After the surgery, the bones begin the healing process – this period of time is called the latency period.
“After the latency period, the patient will adjust the orthopedic device so that it slowly pulls apart the two bone segments,” the International Center for Limb Lengthening says.
The process of separating the two bones is called “distraction”.
Patients who undergo the procedure are given instructions on how to use their limb-lengthening device and how to best take care of it.
A survey conducted and published in 2016 by Body Logic MD looked at over 1,000 men and women in the US.
The survey asked people a series of questions regarding height, their beliefs about height and their preferences for height.
The study found that 60% of men and 49% of women wished to be taller.
The average ideal height for male participants was 6 ft, while female participants said their ideal height was 5’9″.
Research conducted in 2004 also suggests there are economic benefits to being tall. A 6-ft person was predicted to earn $166,000 more than a 5’5″ person over a 30-year career.
After looking at a study conducted in 2006, Dr David Frederick, an associate professor of psychology at Chapman University in southern California, said he found that just 26% of shorter men were satisfied with their height and 87% of tall men were happy with their height.
“When it’s such an intense, persistent feeling that it impacts your daily functioning in daily life, it becomes an issue,” Dr Frederick added.