As published at Oprah.com there is a lot of people now that are choosing a painful operation to be taller and increase their height.
As medical technology improves, more people are going under the knife to have this painful, controversial procedure, which can help patients grow anywhere from a few inches to a full foot.
At the Shanghai Height Increasing Specialized Institute, Lisa meets Dr. Bai Helong, a Chinese doctor who modernized the leg-lengthening procedure. He says his patients want to be taller for many reasons.
“China has 1.3 billion people, so getting a job is quite difficult,” Dr. Bai Helong says. “As a result, a short person not only experiences difficulty in getting a job, but also trouble in their marriage, love life, family, career and many other areas.”
Jessy, a 27-year-old who’s interested in undergoing the procedure, says she’s willing to take a year off work to grow a few inches. Currently, she’s 5’3”.
“I want to be 5’6” or 5’7”. Just being tall makes me feel much confidence,” she says. “I’m always jealous when I see tall girls walking around. I just want to be just like them.”
Dr. Bai’s patients go to great lengths to stand a few inches above their competition. “Pain is definitely a part of the procedure, which is both horrifying and miraculous,” Lisa says.
To lengthen the leg, holes are drilled into the leg bone and screws are inserted to stabilize an adjustable leg brace. Then, surgeons carefully saw the leg bone in half below the knee, and the braces slowly stretch the bones apart. Over time, Dr. Bai says new bone grows into the gap and increases the person’s height.
Lisa says most patients are out of commission for at least six months after the surgery, and others remain in seclusion from friends and family for a full year. At this time, the bulky braces are removed, and the new bone is hard enough to withstand normal activity.
Despite the pain and price—anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000—Lisa says patients think it’s worth the sacrifice. “If this is something that does make people feel better, far be it for us to intrude our opinions,” she says. “But it certainly is very extreme. I had never experienced anything quite like it.”
Read more: It is painful but you can be taller