Limb-Lengthening Surgery - How Does it Work?

Posted January 17, 2020
Learn how limb-lengthening surgery is performed on patients

Plastic surgery is performed on men and women to make changes in their appearance as well as refresh or rejuvenate the look of certain body parts through such procedures as a facelift, tummy tuck or rhinoplasty. One plastic surgery procedure that is growing in popularity with male patients (and some females) is a procedure that lengthens the limbs and can help a person grow up to six inches taller.

Limb-Lengthening Surgery

A plastic surgeon in Las Vegas, Dr. Kevin Debiparshad, started an institute in 2018 centered abound limb-lengthening cosmetic surgery. He is the first surgeon that is known to have opened a medical practice focused on making patients taller.

According to the doctor, patients that visit his clinic come from all backgrounds and careers but the one thing they have in common is the desire to be taller as they feel they are lacking in height. Even though the idea of lengthening the bones of a person for cosmetic purposes is somewhat new, the actual technology and procedure to accomplish this goal has been in existence for almost 100 years according to the Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics.

In the current medical landscape, the procedure involves inserting surgical nails and screws into a hollow section of the bone of the patient (usually located in the legs). The nails and screws are then slowly extended in order to “train” the tissue in the targeted area to permanently stretch.

Limb-Lengthening Surgery Ideal Patients and Price

In general, the procedure is normally used on patients that have suffered leg wounds that occurred while serving in the military as well as other traumatic events such as a car crash. However, Dr. Debiparshad started to use the medical technique for cosmetic purposes on patients that did not necessarily suffer any type of wounds in the past.

The average cost of the procedure is $76,000 and the surgery takes about two hours to perform.  The cost of the surgery includes the actual surgery, a hospital stay after the procedure and two to four weeks of post-surgery physical therapy.

Limb-Lengthening Surgery Explained

The procedure starts with the patient being given a general anesthetic so they will remain asleep for the entire surgery.

The doctor then breaks the bone in the lower leg, shin or thighbone area by creating a half-inch incision. A small drill is used to weaken the bone so it will break in the exact area targeted by the surgeon.

The bone is then penetrated by a chiseling tool. Nails and screws are then inserted to repair the small break that was created in each leg.

Limb-Lengthening Surgery

During the recovery period, patients are given an iPad along with instructions to press a button on the device each day. Pressing the button sends a signal to the installed implants to extend them about one millimeter each day. After 25 days of pressing the button each day, the patient will have gained about an inch of extra height. In essence, the body is being tricked into thinking that it is growing thanks to the surgery.

After a week of recovery, patients can start to walk regularly as well as go to physical therapy in order to stretch the tissue that is connected to the bones. The visits to physical therapy are vital in helping patients to regain their full range of motion. Physical therapy will continue until the patients reach their desired height.

One year after the surgery, the doctor will remove the nails and screws from the body of the patient. The bone and tissue will remain permanently stretched after the nails and screws are removed.

Limb-Lengthening Surgery Risks and Complications

Patients can expect to feel some pain during the first week of the recovery period due to the breaking of the bone. However, many patients can start to walk around a day or two after the surgery.

Some of the risks that are involved with having limb-lengthening surgery include pneumonia and blood clots.

Patients that were able to rum at a quick pace before the surgery could see that ability impacted because of the change in their stature. They will still be able to walk as well as go to the gym but they might not be able to run long distances or sprint long meters.

Schedule a Consultation Appointment with a Board-Certified Surgeon

Patients that are interested in having limb-lengthening surgery should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified surgeon that is experienced in performing the surgery. The doctor will set realistic expectations about the results patients can expect from the procedure. In addition, the doctor will discuss the fact that cosmetic surgery is not a “cure-all” for patients not feeling comfortable with their appearance. While cosmetic procedures can make a change in the appearance of a person, cosmetic surgery cannot make a long-term change in the body image of a person. The doctor will also need to make sure patients are having the surgery because they are making a change they desire and not to make someone else happy



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