A Moment of Science

A Painful Way To Grow Taller

It's no secret that China's economy is growing at a rapid pace. However, it may surprise you to learn that some Chinese citizens are growing, too.

An x-ray of someone's knees

Photo: mikebaird (Flickr)

A new type of surgery can make you at least two to three inches taller.

The people of China are are growing taller thanks to the popularity of leg-lengthening surgery. That’s right, we’re talking about a type of surgery that can make you at least two to three inches taller.

A “Gruesome” Operation

The details of the procedure, as you may imagine, are pretty gruesome.

First, the doctor breaks the tibia and fibula, or the bones of the lower leg. Then, a device comprised of two metal rings connected by extendable rods, called the fixator, is screwed into both ends of the broken bone through the skin.

The Stretching Bone

About a week later, the stretching begins. The surgeon lengthens the fixator in small, two millimeter increments. This slowly pulls the broken bones apart, allowing new bone to grow and fill in the gap.

If all goes well, the three month bone-lengthening period is followed by another three to six months of bone strengthening. During this phase, the patient is confined to a wheelchair and must undergo physical therapy that’s typically described on leg lengthening websites as “extremely painful.”

Barring complications such as infection where the fixator is attached to the bones and nerve injury, you can be back up and walking around on newly lengthened legs in about a year.

A History

The surgery was invented in Russia in the early 1950s to help dwarves and other abnormally short people who wanted to attain a more normal height. Recently, though, in places like China, leg lengthening surgery has become trendy for people convinced that being taller leads to better jobs and more money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Bezama/1813222285 Christopher Bezama

    so that means i have to be one year not walking,,i long i have to be in bed

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Bezama/1813222285 Christopher Bezama

    2017373622 cell

  • farac

    is there anybody who know where can I get it.

  • farac

    is there anybody who know where can I get it.

  • http://www.sydney4women.com.au Karina – Sydney 4 Women

    It is amazing how many people are doing this regardless of the dangers and pain that is involved, we found an article that says that the government has banned this operation, do you know if this is true?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carla-Alvarez-Lopez/1266247130 Carla Alvarez-Lopez

    I seriously want to get this…
    I am so determined to get taller

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1654973150 Tia Alove Stevens-Hicks

    It's no worse than a face lift or tummy tuck. . .people just be happy with what God gave you!

  • coastocoast

    I want the opposite of this…why would you guys want to be taller? I'm a girl, and I'm 5'8″ which is like gross. And I'm only sixteen! I HAAAAAAATE being tall. I'll trade with any of you any day.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TLDUVHNL4P72MST65QSRUDNKSI Sara Martin

    You don't have to go through such pain and hardships to grow taller. Simple and easy changes can be implemented into your daily lifestyle to help you improve your height. Things like stretching, yoga, exercise, posture alignment and dieting habits can be changed and can help you with your height. Take a look at this FREE height guide: http://www.heightsecrets.com/guide.html

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SOJVJQXU44JBJPQTXC2RWYZSTQ smith

    Guys check out my journey. no need to go thru so painful procedures. http://www.growtaller4idiotss.com

  • http://twitter.com/dastanjaff Dastan Jaff

    Im in love with this guy for 6 years…his 6'3f and i am 5'7f..i would do anything to get somewhere near…
    who knows where i can get it pls comment. thank

  • rgiroux123

    5.8 sounds good and a nice height for a girl. People`s height very across the globe so it kinds of depend where you live. 5.8 in Madagascar is tall but in Norway is nice.

  • rgiroux123

    5.8 is nice for a girl. Height is relative to where you live. In Norway a girl at 5.8 is average but in Madagascar is quite tall.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DAIBPXSMWCAAR6B5ES5C2TOI5I School Hater

    seriously… seriously!!! you know how tall I am! I am only 5 feet…. maybe little less. I am 150 cm, and I am 24 years old :( and it really is so tiring to wear heels.. I started having corns over my toes! and I want to be taller no matter what ….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2SJPDAPM2RM7V6BUP5MX76VUBU Amisha Amish

    Stretching exercises to increase height is effective for several reasons, but are not the only type of exercise you do if you want to grow. The best programs to improve growth involve a variety of exercises that help strengthen core muscles, improve posture and encourage your body to release more growth hormones into the bloodstream.

    get taller

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FLD27KKZWNJYRWLUK7KAOCTDX4 ….

    Hey Does Anyone Know Were You Can Get This Surgery ?
    And How Much It Cost ?? I Live Here In California ! Thanks :)

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  • Anonymous

    i need help in finding an insurance company who would cover this type of surgery and a Dr. willing to do it.

  • Vatossan

    A yr? Hole crap!.I rather grow my hair and look tller that way.

  • disqus_zF4Y5533M2

    im 5’8 and all i wanna be is 6’1 i whether do this then be bother the rest of my life being label short by hot girls i could have

  • KiNGZ-MENTALiTY

    I FEEL U BRO IM THE SAME HEIGHT AS U GIVE ME 5’11 – 6′O AND IM GOOD 4 LIFE

  • Jessie

    What consequences may cause this?????

  • anon

    You know not of the discrimination we face everyday by the outside world

  • his mother…

    fk im only 5’11 wanna get to at least 6’4….but im only 15 so i got a few yrs left to grow right???

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