Surgery to increase height: is it dangerous?

Surgery to increase height is a surgical treatment used to lengthen the limbs. Today it is a method that is increasingly popular. It can be done in children and adults.

Although many people believe that it is a simple process that can solve the fact of being short, this is not the case. Short stature is not its main indication and, in addition, the technique is complex and may have certain risks.

For example, it is often used in people who have asymmetries in the limbs. Be aware that it is a slow and painful process. Therefore, in this article we explain everything you need to know.

How is surgery to increase height performed?

Surgery to increase height is a surgical procedure. It consists of lengthening the limbs. For this, as explained by the specialists of the German Clinic, internal lengthening devices are usually used.

They are a kind of extensible rod with a gear system that is placed inside the bone (the tibia or the femur). There is a device on the skin that allows you to control said rod to slowly lengthen the limb.

An external fixator is placed on the limb that is being lengthened. For this, needles are used through the skin. These devices are kept for a long time, depending on how many centimeters you want to extend. Usually it is 3 months.

Surgery to increase height can be done in children and adults. It is important that the patient progressively lengthens the fixator on a daily basis. As explained in Kids Health, the main steps of this surgery are the following:

  1. The limb is anesthetized or general anesthesia is used. Thus, when the incision is made on the skin, the patient does not feel pain.
  2. The lengthening device is placed and the bone to be lengthened is cut. In this way, a space is created in which new bone will grow.
  3. Screws are used to secure the device And it fits the remote control that works by magnets.
  4. By last, the wound is closed with sutures.

This surgical procedure is complex, since it is about stimulating the formation of new bone tissue.

Who is the surgery recommended for?

To be able to perform surgery to increase height, it is essential that the patient is healthy, without infections or metabolic diseases. One of the main indications is dismetria. It consists of one limb being longer than the other.

This can lead to numerous joint problems, so correction is prescribed. It is associated with lumbago, chronic knee and hip pain. Specialists from the Mayo Clinic explain that it is also indicated to treat skeletal dysplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta.

Skeletal dysplasia is a disease caused by different birth defects. What happens is that there is an alteration in bone growth. That is why they are usually people with crooked limbs and short stature. Osteogenesis imperfecta, meanwhile, is a genetic disorder in which the bones are more fragile than normal. This means that, in the event of any trauma, they fracture more easily.

Lastly, surgery to increase height can be used to treat achondroplasia.

Aspects to consider

Before performing surgery to increase height, it is key to take into account certain aspects. It is a slow process that requires time and patience. First of all, you have to expect that you will have to spend days in the hospital.

In addition, the limb or limbs that are being lengthened will become practically unusable. This is why help is often needed to perform any daily task, such as dressing or showering.

Similarly, it is important to take into account the doctor's instructions. You have to follow exactly the millimeters that it is recommended to lengthen each day. Strengthening and stretching exercises will also be necessary.

The help of a special caregiver is usually indicated. If it is a child, it is very likely that he will have to leave school during this period. In this way, the ideal is to try to continue with his training from home and not neglect his studies.

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What are the results of surgery to increase height?

Surgery to increase height is not perfect. Growth cannot be expected to be on demand. In fact, each bone has a maximum elongation. The tibia can be lengthened about 4 centimeters and, in the case of the femur, it can reach 6 centimeters.

Although it is quite safe, surgery to increase height also carries risks. According to the professionals of the Downey Institute, one of the complications is fat embolism.

Fat embolism is when certain fatty particles that make up the bone are released and obstruct a blood vessel. It is a risk that is assumed in any fracture or orthopedic surgery. Other similar complications are deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

On the other hand, after surgery to increase height premature bone consolidation may also occur. In this case, the bone tissue closes early, making it impossible to continue lengthening.

Finally, a consolidation failure may occur. It is the opposite of what we just explained earlier. In the space in which the new bone should grow it is impossible for that to happen. It is associated with low levels of vitamin D and smoking.

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What to expect after surgery

Rehabilitation is an unavoidable step in recovery, since immobilization is prolonged.

After surgery to increase height requires going through a long process and patience. It is not a surgery with an immediate result, but it can last up to 3 months postoperatively.

During this time, when the legs are lengthened, it will not be possible to walk normally. It is essential to avoid applying weight to the limb that is being lengthened. In addition, physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises will be necessary.

It is essential to follow the instructions on how to use the device. It is usually programmed for each person in a specific way. In the same way, it will be necessary to pay attention to the diet to have an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals that nourish the bone.

It is also important to note that visits to the doctor will be frequent. In them, the safest thing is that X-rays are taken to check the condition of the bones.

Surgery to increase height involves pain and muscle spasms. Throughout the process, powerful pain relievers will have to be used. That is why it is recommended to have good psychological support to face this situation.

Considerations about surgery to increase height

Before performing surgery to increase height, it is very important to be aware that it is not an easy process. This technique produces pain, discomfort and disability. It requires a long period of time in which, surely, it will be necessary to be inactive and at rest.

Not all people can have this surgical procedure. You have to have a lot of will and be disciplined, since following the doctor's instructions will be essential to obtain a good result and avoid complications.

Similarly, if you decide to do so, it is essential to go to a specialist in this technique. Any failure can seriously harm health. That is why you always have to choose appropriately who is going to do it.