Dr. Bai's patients go to great lengths to stand a few inches above their competition. "Pain is definitely a part of the procedure, which is both horrifying and miraculous," Lisa says.
To lengthen the leg, holes are drilled into the leg bone and screws are inserted to stabilize an adjustable leg brace. Then, surgeons carefully saw the leg bone in half below the knee, and the braces slowly stretch the bones apart. Over time, Dr. Bai says new bone grows into the gap and increases the person's height.
Lisa says most patients are out of commission for at least six months after the surgery, and others remain in seclusion from friends and family for a full year. At this time, the bulky braces are removed, and the new bone is hard enough to withstand normal activity.
Despite the pain and price—anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000—Lisa says patients think it's worth the sacrifice. "If this is something that does make people feel better, far be it for us to intrude our opinions," she says. "But it certainly is very extreme. I had never experienced anything quite like it."
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