Some Men Are Opting to Get Taller—Surgically

It's not cheap or easy, but some see it as a life-altering opportunity
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2022 8:30 AM CDT
Elective Limb-Lengthening Is Getting More Common
   (Getty Images)

It’s not a stretch to say short guys have it tough sometimes. Think Napoleon: sure, he conquered Europe, but he also got a complex named after him because—evidently—being short made him fighting mad. In a recent BuzzFeed article, reporter Elamin Abdelmahmoud lays out research that shows modern-day short men often face obstacles in the workplace and on the dating scene, and they are more likely to be depressed. They are also the butt of jokes on TikTok, according to "Scott," a 25-year-old man who recently underwent a limb-lengthening procedure that will raise his stature from 5’7" to 5'10", putting him an inch above the average American man. He hopes it will also change the way society perceives him. But the procedure, which Abdelmahmoud writes is growing in popularity, is neither cheap nor easy.

It costs about $75,000 and takes nearly a year to complete, including intense physical therapy, plenty of pain, and weeks spent using a walker. In Scott's case, an orthopedic surgeon who does about three dozen of these surgeries a year inserted special "rods" into his femurs; the rods have gears and are designed to gradually lengthen—about 1mm per day—until he reaches his new height. Scott did his research beforehand and knew what he was in for. He also gained moral support and tips from podcaster Victor Egonu, "an evangelist for limb-lengthening" who hopes to make it as socially acceptable as cosmetic surgeries. Three months in, Scott can already sense the change, especially when he looks people he knows in the eye. "I'll notice our eye-level difference, and I’ll really get caught off guard and almost start crying," he says. (Read more about Scott’s experience, and see his leg scars, here.)

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