Leg-lengthening surgery: the costly and increasingly popular operation that allows people to grow a few centimetres

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Leg-lengthening surgery: the costly and increasingly popular operation that allows people to grow a few centimetres
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People who are unhappy with their height have found a way to grow a few centimetres with a costly and increasingly popular leg-lengthening surgery called distraction osteogenesis.

Although it may sound like science fiction, distraction osteogenesis is a real technique that can be used on people who are unhappy with their height, although it is principally used on patients with bone deformities.

After paying a cost of several thousand euros, the patient may undergo a bone-lengthening operation in order to increase their height. Although the majority of patients are people with diseases or deformities, the operation is performed for purely aesthetic reasons more and more frequently.

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The procedure, which has a history of over 100 years (it was applied for the first time, very primitively, in 1905), is based on osteogenesis, the natural procedure through which bone tissue is generated. It consists of cutting the largest bones in the legs (tibia or femur) in order to create a space that will be instinctively filled by regenerative cells, thereby lengthening the bone.

Bone-lengthening is usually applied to people with bone deformities, limbs of different lengths or loss of bone that has been caused by infections, tumours or trauma. However, thanks to advances in medicine and technology, the procedure now allows cosmetic leg-lengthening of up to 15 centimetres.

According to Javier Downey, a traumatologist specialised in bone pathologies and deformities and a founding member of the Spanish Orthopaedic Society, the procedure has become much safer and much less painful over the years.


The cost depends on the number of centimetres that the patient hopes to gain. The average patient is a male aged 25 – 45 with a height of less than 1.70 cm who believes that this has a negative influence on work, sports or their social life.

The recovery period is usually around 30 days per centimetre gained, as long as all instructions are followed properly.

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