I've honed in on the TOP-6 most worrisome topics with a few of my thoughts but more so to get you thinking about each to see if you're really ready to embark on this big-life-changing surgery.
How much height can you gain from limb lengthening surgery? This takes the top spot as the most popular concern and it’s understandable because you’re not going to go through breaking your legs and paying a ton of money if you can’t get noticeably taller to improve your life whether it be for: career, relationships, social acceptance and so on.
So the best way to sift through this aspect is to determine how tall you are now and how much height you want to gain AND THEN + ADD REALITY to it.
So what I am saying is let's say you’re 5ft 2 inches tall and you want to get to 5ft 7 inches tall. Alright so that’s an increase of 5 inches. Now the bones could do this no problem but the culprit that gives you resistance will be the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, fascia, nerves etc.) And that’s when you have to be realistic. It’s great to have a height goal in mind and to shoot for that amount of length, but watching your progress along the way, over time, is the most important.
So for that 5 ft 2 inch person who wants 3 inches or 8cm of femur lengthening via internal Stryde nail, them, their surgeon and their physical therapist will need to check in consistently to ensure they get to 5 ft 5in safely.
Once they get there; the recovery process begins... rehab & healing your bone > rebuild strength & ROM > get device removedl > another shorter rehab & rebuild > and then decide if enough is enough or go for tibial lengthening.
Then they consult again with their surgeon, and assuming they’ve rehabbed very well and regained max ROM, they decide to go for up to 2 inches or 5cm on the tibias and the process repeats until they hit their 5’7” goal.
Now if they happen to get so tight, they may need to slow down the distraction rate or worse case stop lengthening altogether. It’s really hard to say how much length each person can get as time will tell but typically anything over 5cm will be a “stretch”.
So to summarize this point: set a goal, lengthen wisely, rehab well, observe & make smart collective decisions with your medical team…
Stature lengthening is the most expensive cosmetic procedure by far. BUT I don’t really like calling it an expense as you’d probably agree that it’s an investment in your happiness which in my mind is priceless. But then again, it is pricey lol! And so, when deciding what to invest, you consider 3 main points…
The surgeon and their experience
The device and technique they’ll use
Living expenses & possible complication fund
I’m not gonna go too deep on this topic as I’ve made a few videos on it before but basically if you can get a medical loan to help out then great, but if not, then long term savings really is the only way.
Another big question I always get is do I think the price of the procedure will decrease...maybe and I’d hope so if new tech makes old tech obsolete hence externals vs. Stryde but until then you pay for what you get and again investing in your happiness shouldn’t be a compromise.
Will lengthening your legs skew your proportions with your arms and height. Yes it will. Will it be noticeable, it depends but I don’t think so, at least not over a certain amount and not to normal people. I think if you do the femurs and wear normal clothes it’ll be very hard for someone to notice unless they have a trained eye or if proportions weren’t normal to begin.
Now if you do the tibias also, then you walk a fine line but even then there’s a test I think can help determine it. If you stand up and are wearing pants or shorts with pockets and the base of your palm is at the bottom of your pocket then getting 3-5 inches of length should still allow the front of your hand to match with the belly of your pocket which means you could still look normal and go unnoticed. You can use a tape measure on the side of thigh or shoulder and hike shoulder. But if your fingers barely reach your pockets then you may run into the question of whether you want arm lengthening or not go for as much length.
And I’ve made a few videos on it but your LBR is the most important aspect and if you fill out with mass in the legs the illusion significantly decreases chances someone will know your proportions are off...trust me when it comes to symmetry I’m an expert.
Things like when you’ll be able to walk normally, heal your bones, get back to working out intensely and not having long term pain all fall under this topic. In quickfire fashion, average time to walk normally and bone healing is about 4-5 months (depending on device), back to working out intensely is about 8-10 months and not having any long term residual pain is about 2-3 years.
This will vary for different people but if you follow a progressive rehab process and remain very consistent with your therapy, as in like making it a part of your lifestyle, then you’ll see amazing results. Is it easy...heck NO! If I didn’t have my goal of getting back to the bodybuilding stage driving me, I’m sure I’d have slipped up. So you need a strong motivational reason or “why” pushing you as well as a progressive plan in place and not just wing it and say “I gotta do this, oh and that and a bit of this…” No you need to ensure everything from stretching old muscle, to strengthening new muscle tissue, to maximizing ROM, to getting used to “new biomechanical normal”, to rebuilding after device removal to optimizing rest, nutrition, supplementation and having a plan B should something come up. This takes strategy and fine-tuning and being fully insync with your body.
This is a really big fear factor of the procedure and like I’ve mentioned before I think it’s mainly due to having no pain prior to having your legs broken when you wake up. That kind of shock is hard to explain but so long as you have a good pain killer regimen in place and do everything in your power to reduce inflammation, swelling and promote healing you will see just how manageable LL can be. The goal is to have most of the pain gone by week 2-3 and turn it into a diligent lengthening, rehab and healing game. If you can do that, in a consistent machine like fashion, you’ll be fine. Just think 3 weeks of pain for a lifetime of happiness if you’re seriously considering LL.
Last but not least and still making the top 6 list are things that could potentially go wrong. Although a complication can still occur during LL people are starting to follow the guidelines a bit more by picking an experienced LL surgeon to help mitigate potential complications such as muscle contractures, embolisms, non-unions, premature consolidations, fractures, nerve compressions, etc.
Also, being better at doing their rehab and therapy thanks to surgeons ensuring PT is getting done for the entire distraction phase. But even then some LL patients get comfortable and decide to push the limits of their healing process or get relaxed with their stretching at home at which time a problem can occur. I don’t understand this really. I had the original Precice nail and even when my doctor told me I could start walking I was very cautious and took it slow.
Also be sure to keep a small fund set aside in case of a complicated rainy day.
So to wrap it up, which one is your biggest concern. Are you ready for each? If not, you need to wait until you are before deciding to get LL done as a strong, certain mindset is the hidden 7th aspect that can ensure maximum LL surgery success.