Saturday, October 14, 2006

China: Leg Lengthening the Latest Luxury

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What do breast enhancement surgery in China and record levels of diabetes in India have in common? They are the inexorable signs of progress. Developing nations today find they are facing the health dilemmas that plagued the United States fifty years ago. As affluence spreads so does excess. This shared human frailty, that transcends borders and language, predictably leads to lifestyle related illnesses, including diabetes and hypertension, and to elective surgeries like breast enhancement.

But, what about those stubby little legs?

Not to worry. In China, the latest trend for the trendy is elective leg-lengthening surgery, the modern day equivalent of the torture rack. The process, first used in Russia to treat dwarfism, involves surgery in which the lower leg bones are intentionally broken, secured with surgical pins and then systematically pulled apart. Using an external cage-like bracket that may be extended by the turn of a screw, patients coax their leg bones apart by about one millimeter a day. The body magnificent takes it from there, efficiently filling the void with new bone growth and, after two or three excruciating months confined to a wheelchair, you are ready for... three to six additional months in the wheelchair, with continued physical therapy, to allow the new bones to strengthen.

But, you'll be two, or maybe even three, inches taller. Gosh - seems like such a small price to pay.

To read more about this procedure, see this from Medline Plus


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