Number of short men getting leg-lengthening surgery has doubled

Extreme lengths! Number of short men getting leg-lengthening surgery to add a few inches to their height has DOUBLED in past three years, plastic surgeon claims

  •  A Minnesota man had two cosmetic surgeries that made him five inches taller
  •  Cosmetic surgeries are on the rise in men, with 1.3 million going under the knife
  •  These procedures can cost more than $100,000 dollars without insurance

The number of short men having agonizing surgeries to add a few inches to their height is surging in the US, a surgeon claims.

Dr Shahab Mahboubian told NBC News he is performing twice as many leg-lengthening surgeries – which cost between $75,000 to $170,000 – at his clinic in California now compared to three years ago.

The rise has been attributed to the ‘Tinder Generation’s’ obsession with dating taller men and short men being passed up for opportunities at work and in relationships. 

Minnesota man Moses Gibson, 41, made international headlines last week after having two ‘excruciatingly painful’ surgeries to add five inches to his height, taking him from a below-average 5ft 5 to 5ft 10. 

The surgery involves breaking men’s legs, implanting magnetic rods and using a remote control to stretch them out over a period of several months.  

NuVasive Precice 2 nails work by breaking at least two leg bones in half. Nails are then drilled into either end of each femur or tibia, which is slowly teased apart with magnets over weeks while it heals naturally, resulting in a longer bone. But it can leave patients in agony and wheelchair-bound during the process, with months of physiotherapy needed afterwards

A 5ft5in man underwent ‘excruciatingly painful’ $165,000 leg surgery to add five inches to his height. He is seen before (left) and after (right) the first procedure

‘I get about 20 emails a day asking about limb-lengthening procedures and up to 40 when one of our posts goes viral on TikTok or Instagram,’ Dr Mahboubian told Insider. 

The general population believes that whatever height you grow to is your final height, but that’s not the case — a lengthening procedure provides an opportunity to become taller.’

Though men still only make up 8 percent of all cosmetic procedures performed in the US each year, the number is on the rise. 

A 2019 report revealed that more than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men the year prior, a 29 percent increase between 2000 and 2018. 

The most popular surgeries for men in 2020 were facelifts, eyelid surgeries, nose reshaping, and liposuction.  

Doctors tell the rise is due to more men are experiencing body dysmorphia, thanks to social media and societal expectations.

But men have long been insecure about their height – a survey conducted and published in 2016 by Body Logic MD of over 1,000 men and women in the US found that 60 percent of men wish to be taller.

And it appears that being taller affords men more opportunities. A 2020 review examined the ethical implications of height lengthening. It found that taller people were more likely to have higher incomes, better educations, and improved marriage potential. 

Shorter stature can also make dating a challenge. Research published last year studied the relationship between height and dating preferences among heterosexual people in the US, Canada, Cuba, and Norway. The study found that men preferred shorter women and women preferred taller men relative to their own height. 

Mr Gibson eventually decided to go under the knife to increase his size. He has now received two cosmetic procedures – which cost him a whopping $165,000

A three-month progression from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York shows gradual lengthening of the femur. The circled gap shows the new bone growth

This was the case for Mr Gibson, who had two surgeries to add five inches to his height. 

It cost him about $165,000 and a grueling recovery. But he maintains it was worth it.

‘[After the first surgery] I became less hesitant and less worried about the result when talking to women. I now have a girlfriend,’ Mr Gibson said. 

‘I started wearing shorts and taking full body pictures which I never used to do. It’s a crazy thing, nobody should feel that way.’

Read more: Shock research finds Botox injections can interfere with brain activity connected to recognising emotions

Roughly 900,000 Britons have Botox injections each year, where a compound called botulinum toxin is injected into areas of the face, such as the forehead and around the eyes and mouth

Surgery involves cutting the bone and inserting magnetic rods and pins inside the leg. 

For the next three to four months, the legs are lengthened by up to 1 millimeter, or 0.04 inches, every day with an external remote control. This helps new bone grow over the rods. 

Patients then undergo several months of physical therapy and have to walk with a mobility aid, such as a walker or crutches. 

Dr Rozbruch also writes that those recovering from surgery should stick to a healthy diet and take calcium supplements to help the bones heal faster.

At the end of recovery, the rods are removed in a separate procedure. 

‘Limb lengthening surgery can be done safely and effectively in both children and adults–including those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s,’ Dr Rozbruch writes. 

A 26-year-old named Alex (not his real name) also underwent a leg-lengthening operation last January, which gave him an extra three inches. He told NBC News that shorter men ‘routinely get spoken down to because of this trait they can’t control.’

‘My goal was never to be tall. It’s to be in a place where no one comments on my height,’ Alex said. 

He estimated that the entire process cost him $100,000. 

The Height Lengthening Institute, where Dr Mahboubian works, charges roughly $82,000 to $169,000. Because the surgeries are cosmetic, insurance likely will not cover them. 

Surgeries to lengthen the legs rely on the body’s ability to regenerate new bone, Dr S Robert Rozbruch, MD, chief of limb lengthening at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, writes on the hospital’s website. 

The body can also grow soft tissues, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves to support the new bone.   

The Hospital for Special Surgery estimates that limb lengthening procedures have an 95 percent success rate. The hospital cites minor complications such as scarring and stiff joints as common risks and states that severe complications are rare. 

‘There has been a dramatic shift in perception of this surgery in the United States and interest in the field is expanding rapidly, with many promising developments ahead of us, including new devices that promote faster healing,’ Dr Rozbruch said.

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