Limb lengthening is a surgical technique that can be done to treat medical conditions or make someone taller for cosmetic reasons. The thighbones (not seen here) are sawed apart and an implant is attached in the break to add length to the bone. According to a Details magazine article, around 4,000 people around the world have had cosmetic limb lengthening (CLL) surgery. Apparently, it's an increasingly popular procedure for medical tourists who go to places like Brazil, China, and Egypt where the surgery is cheaper. From Details:
A person could argue that to pay upwards of $100,000 for a risky, excruciating surgery that adds just a few inches to your frame is insane. CLL is by far the most extreme (and expensive) procedure that a human being can submit to in the name of vanity. Most lipo and facial-surgery patients can go home within an hour. Recovery time for calf and pec implants is a couple of weeks. And at $8,000, penile implants seem like a bargain by comparison–plus, in terms of pure physical pain, there is no contest. Beyond the agony of having your bones cut in two and stretched, CLL carries risks like pinhole infections, nerve damage, and severe deformity.Link
On a website called Make Me Taller, which launched two years ago, you can wade through message boards filled with self-loathing, hope, and hubris. “I would like to do 6 [centimeters] and go home sooner,” writes “12,” a patient about to undergo CLL in China. “I’ll have less possible complications and a shorter recovery time. The only thing that stops me from making that goal solid is the idea that I’ll be leaving almost an inch on the table. And yes, 2 inches is substantial, but isn’t 3 inches, like, mind-blowing?”
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.