Open Post: Hosted By The Booming Business Of Leg Lengthening Surgery

September 16, 2022 / Posted by:

Yesterday GQ published a piece about the growing popularity of leg lengthening surgery. Wait, is this actually for real? Apparently so! The article claims that more and more men are getting a “a radical and expensive surgery” that adds three to six inches to their height. Unfortunately, it requires having both of your femurs broken. Hey, if Tom Cruise can hang off the side of a flying plane for Mission: Impossible, he can deal with a couple of smashed thigh bones.

The piece profiles a few men who got the surgery, including John Lovedale, who now stands at five foot eleven and a half. Eight months before, John was three inches shorter:

Back in September, he paid $75,000 for the agonizing privilege of having his legs surgically lengthened. That entailed having both his femurs broken, and adjustable metal nails inserted down their centers. Each nail is made of titanium, which is both flexible and sturdy, like bone, and about the size of a piccolo. The nails were extended one millimeter every day for about 90 days via a magnetic remote control. Once the broken bones heal, ta-da: a newer, taller John.

The journalist (who notes that he’s 5’6″ and his wife is 5’9″) writes that, since all the height is added to patients’ legs, their proportions can look a little weird. Also, it’s an extremely long recovery time; John couldn’t walk for months. Even at the eight-month mark, he still isn’t fully healed, and his right femur is very fragile: “the smallest stumble could snap a bone in two.” There’s also the “relentless” and “excruciating” pain, which is treated with, you guessed it, a ton of painkillers.

John got his surgery with Dr. Kevin Debiparshad, who goes by Dr. D and runs the LimbplastX Institute out of Las Vegas. Dr. D claims to be a leading expert in the leg lengthening field, and he says his patients have doubled since everybody started working from home during the pandemic. Dr. D’s standard heightening is three inches. If patients want six inches, they can expect to pay up to $150,000, and will also need to get their tibias done in addition to their femurs. There’s also an added cost of $14,000 to $20,000 to get the titanium nails out of the legs after everything’s healed. Don’t worry, John took out a loan for his femurs; he’ll pay $1,200 a month for the next five years.

Dr. D says he’s operated on news anchors, college basketball players, finance guys, actors, CEOs, YouTubers, tech bros, and trans men who want to be taller to feel more masculine (he also does leg shortening for trans women). A lot of men get leg lengthening surgery because they’re insecure about how women perceive their height. Dr. D reveals that 90% of his patients don’t ever tell anyone they get the surgery. To explain their long recovery time, they make up excuses about ski accidents, bathtub falls, and complications from the vaccine (gee, great). Damn, if you told men that they could get taller from the vaccine, they’d be giving that shit out at the gym. Anti-vaxxers would be a thing of the past. Joe Rogan would be the spokesman for Moderna!

Pic: Frank Olsen/

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