A major factor that motivates people to get limb lengthening surgery done and that is... Height Dysphoria.
What is it, do you have it and can it be cured?
What is Height Dysphoria?
Height Dysphoria aka Height Neurosis is a body image condition where a person is dissatisfied with their height. It doesn’t necessarily mean the person is short but rather how they see themselves.
It was made famous by the limb lengthening orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dror Paley and psychologist, Dr. Walter Windisch, who worked alongside him for 20+yrs, to screen patients, making sure they were qualified candidates for the limb lengthening surgery.
In fact, I recently reached out to Dr. Windisch, and although he politely declined to interview, as that’s no longer a focus of his practice, he did allow me to quote him from the phone call.
He mentioned: and I quote -
"Stature Dysphoria is a psychological issue that I would screen patients considering cosmetic limb lengthening and can’t be cured by typical psychotherapy and is not a front or a mask of another condition.”
Just let that sink in for a second...that’s powerful.
Dr. Windisch and Dr. Paley both have years of experience working with patients like this and they mention that height dysphoria isn’t made up... and that it is real! I thought this was interesting because, misunderstanding this is what divides those who have this condition and those of the general public who don’t see it the same way. Perhaps one day we’ll all come together and it’ll be more accepted.
Do you have it?
How do you know if you have height dysphoria? I think there are a few checkboxes that can determine if you have some form of height dysphoria which are…
- Where your height bothers you most?
- What about your height makes you most uncomfortable?
- The spectrum or intensity level to which it bothers you
- How long and when it bothers you?
Where are you when it bothers you:
- If you realize you are constantly bothered by your height when you are alone by yourself and or when in public settings especially when around other people then this could be a factor.
What about your height makes you most uncomfortable:
- Is it that the majority of people in your life or daily surroundings are taller than you?
- Do you constantly pay attention to details such as the taller person treating you differently because of your height?
The intensity of how it affects you:
- I don’t believe having height dysphoria is as simple as you have it or you don’t, I think there is a spectrum and some people may have milder symptoms than others. For example, perhaps you are a bit insecure when around a few taller people at a small gathering but are super anxious and spazzing out in certain places like the mall or on the beach barefoot where there are tons of people and symptoms are more extreme.
How long & When it bothers you:
- Do you feel you’re only bothered by your height at certain times of the day? Or is it all the time? Does it only bother you when you think about it or does it force its way into your thoughts regardless of where you are or what you’re doing?
- How long has this been going on? Just recently aka acutely? Or has it been going on more chronically for like 6 months or more maybe even years?
So do you have it?
I think if you have answered yes to a majority of the more extreme aspects of how your height bothers you, then yes, you may have some degree of height dysphoria.
Can it be Cured?
Based on what Dr. Windisch told me, he said no amount of psychotherapy can cure it. The better question is, can limb lengthening cure it? Well this can’t truly be answered by anyone except the person who had height dysphoria, got LL done and no longer worry about their height.
I’ve heard of patients who may have not lengthened to their safe potential might be a bit regretful but I can say that the vast majority of patients of whose success LL stories I’ve come across are all super content and happy with their decision.