Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tall tribulations

While some are going for limb lengthening as a cosmetic procedure, doctors warn that the surgery is only for extreme cases

Botox, facelifts and implants are passé. The new kid on the plastic surgery block is limb lengthening. And with youngsters having enough money these days, they don’t mind splurging on the procedure.

It, however, is a procedure one should avoid unless absolutely necessary. “One should understand that these procedures range from simple to complex and have two sides of the coin — benefit and risk. The risk-benefit ratio has to be assessed before undergoing any procedure. If the risk is more than the benefit then it is better to avoid it,” explains Dr N. Jithendran, consultant aesthetic, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Global Hospitals.

Leg-lengthening procedures were originally used to treat limb defects or injuries, but recently a growing trend has emerged and patients, especially youngsters, request doctors for the sole purpose of getting taller.

“Limb lengthening surgery is done after an accident or due to infection, cancer or by birth, when one limb ends up shorter than other. The short limb is lengthened by few inches, using this technique. It is a major surgery and requires several weeks of recovery. The same surgery is rarely performed on both limbs to increase the height,” says Dr Priti Shukla, consultant plastic and cosmetic surgeon, Ambrosia Clinic.
Choosing the right surgeon is important

An aspiring actor spent lakhs for having his legs surgically lengthened. Although Ilizarov (limb lengthening) surgery is an effective way of lengthening the bones up to four to six inches, doctors advise not to go for this extremely slow and painful procedure just for cosmetic purposes.

“Another thing is to make sure that all cosmetic procedures are done by a trained plastic surgeon. Most places where you undergo procedures are not competent in dealing with any complications that may arise. So, the cosmetic surgeon should also have a good reconstructive surgery background. Otherwise dealing with complications will be difficult and will lead to unacceptable outcomes. It is always best to verify the credentials of the surgeon before putting yourself under his knife. The same surgery done by two different surgeons will lead to two different outcomes,” adds Dr N. Jithendran.

Concentrate on health than enhancing features

The Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA) has advised people not to do the surgery unless for rare cases.
“What eventually matters is our overall health and not an enhanced feature. People at large are subconsciously influenced by celebrities or anything that brings them closer to them. It could help with the marriage and career prospects, but it’s just an aspect of an unrevealed psyche that somewhere yearns for a better aesthetic appearance. In the formative years, people don’t take adequate proteins or practice other factors that contribute towards a desirable height. Later they regret it and undergo treatments, procedures and surgeries that not only lower their prospects of better health but also have a devastating effect on their psyche. More importantly, it should be acknowledged that height, unlike weight, has significant genetic impact and one should learn to be happy with what they have. People must understand that doing the bare minimum for good health, like exercising, a good diet and sound sleep are more than enough and should do the needful in bringing out a good personality,” says Dr Praveen Mereddy, Sr. consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Care Hospitals.

Swati Sharma

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