HEALTHY LIVING
06/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cosmetic Leg Breaking: What Some Men Will Do To Be Taller

Details magazine reports on a disturbing new trend in cosmetic surgery: people who have their legs surgically broken as part of a limb lengthening procedure that can add a few inches of height.

In Germany, Jeff's femurs (thighbones) were severed by a surgical saw. The surgeon inserted a rodlike telescoping implant in the bone canal of each leg, bridging the cut. He fastened each rod in place with four pins. The next morning Jeff stood up on his new legs and took a few steps on crutches.

He spent seven days in the hospital and the next 10 weeks, the lengthening phase, at a nearby residence. After the surgery, a sticky blood mass called a callus--the beginning of new bone--formed on each of his broken femurs. Jeff's job was to click a remote control that signaled the rod to telescope out one millimeter a day, stretching the bone callus with it. He describes the feeling in pubescent terms, as "an intense growth spurt." Then, during his last six to eight weeks in Germany, he waited for the bone to knit together and harden in its new, longer form.

Jeff is one of an estimated 4,000 people in the world who have chosen to undergo cosmetic limb lengthening (CLL) in recent years. "That number is increasing all the time," says Dr. Dror Paley, an orthopedic surgeon at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. Paley gets several e-mail inquiries about the procedure every day, the majority from affluent men between the ages of 20 and 40. "Some are very genuine," he says, "and others are complete nutcases."

Keep reading the Details.com article.

Or read blogger Dr. Rock's post "Courting Controversy: Cosmetic Limb Lengthening Surgery."