Is Cosmetic Leg (Limb) Lengthening Surgery Worth It?

Surgery | Written by Joshua Leaf | Updated on December 17, 2021

Man sitting in chair contemplating if cosmetic limb or leg lengthening surgery is worthwhile with icons symbolizing cost vs reward, height dysphoria, costs, time, and getting taller.

The vast majority of patient diaries and studies conclude that the majority of cosmetic limb lengthening patients have a positive outcome and the surgery was overall worthwhile.

However, there’s a minority of patients who have been left disabled at worst, or at best, still dissatisfied with their height even once they reached their ideal height. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always black and white.

So how do you figure out if it will be worth it?

Is Height Surgery Right for Me?

Does being short or taller affect your well-being? Do you think a few inches in height would drastically change the way society views you, or that all your downfalls are due to your height? If so, you might have height neurosis, otherwise known as height dysphoria. If therapy, self-love, and self-acceptance don’t help, then increasing your height can be beneficial if all else fails.

Keep in mind that surgery can permanently change your life, but it should never be seen as a first or second resort because of the inherent risks and side effects. Additionally, the surgery itself requires a massive time and financial sacrifice where the risks vs rewards must be contemplated.

Leg Lengthening Surgery Costs & Time Considerations

Depending on the method, clinic, and amount of dedication towards physical therapy, the costs and time investments can range significantly.

The average surgery costs 10’s of thousand of dollars and requires a minimum of 3 months of downtime.[1] Again, depending on the method used you won’t be able to walk at all, or normally for about 3-6 months until your bones regrow and the muscles recoup. Oftentimes it takes over a year to fully heal.

You can read more about height surgery costs here, or check out our timeline to full recovery article here.

Benefits Of Getting Taller With Leg Lengthening or Height Surgery

Scientific studies have linked being taller with an increase in dating success, professional prowess, and improvements in mental health. Taller people tend to have happier dating lives, carry themselves better at work, experience less anxiety, and have fewer negative thoughts.

The main benefit of being tall, or more so a comfortable height, is that you can focus less on your appearance, and more on your personal qualities & values. Those self-conscious thoughts related to appearance tend to disappear once you’re just a few inches taller and you don’t have voices in your head telling you that you’re inadequate.

Higher Confidence, Salary, & Success

The biggest study to date was conducted for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2008 [2]. It involved 454,065 participants and discovered that people taller than the US average height make 15% more on average, have active dating lives, and experience less negative emotions and anxiety.

According to the Gallup study, the effects of growing only 1 inch are the equivalent of getting a 4% raise at work. The same study indicated that if a person grows from below-average height, to above-average height, their average income would increase by 30%. Taller people are more likely to perform better at job interviews, to require higher salaries/bonuses, and to carry themselves with confidence at work.

A different study discovered that height is directly correlated to dominance and social status in society. According to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences [3], taller people find it easier to achieve higher social status due to their interpersonal dominance during confrontations with competitors.

Increasing Your Height For The Right Reasons

If you opt for leg extension, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Physical appearance significantly impacts the way people perceive you, but the procedure is not a magic bullet where growing 5 inches taller automatically makes you successful and happy. If only it were that easy…

Psychological traumas that existed since childhood can prevail even when you’re tall so it doesn’t guarantee a cure.

You still have to put in effort to achieve success, but ultimately, if you’re doing it for yourself and your own self-confidence it may have worthwhile positive effects. Think of it like fixing crooked teeth: While you’ll feel more confident smiling, other people might not notice at all and the benefits of having slightly straighter teeth may be negligible.

Long Term Side Effects Of Leg Lengthening Surgery

It’s common for potential patients to ask “is leg lengthening surgery safe,” or wonder about the long term effects when considering if it’s worth it or not. The short-term side effect of surgery is that you have to spend 8-12 weeks in bed until you recover and you’re ready to walk again (with few exceptions). There are risks of permanent damage and long-term side effects if you opt for inexperienced surgeons overseas, and this is something you must consider.

According to the University of Florida Health Department [4], most common risks of this surgery include:

  •     Allergic reaction to medicines injected during surgery.
  •     Bleeding or infection problems (as the bone is cut up).
  •     Bone infection.
  •     Nerve damage.
  •     Poor healing, causing you to require extensive rehabilitation.

These risks are severely reduced if you opt for the latest methods such as PRECISE or STRYDE and choose an experienced surgeon. Leg lengthening is a delicate procedure that should only be carried out by licensed, experienced professionals.

The Bottom Line: It’s Personal

The decision should be based on your motivations, financial capabilities, time availability, and other factors. A thorough cost and/or risk-benefit analysis is highly encouraged before committing to such a surgery.

Whether or not height surgery is worth it is a tough call because the factors weighing the decision vary from person to person. The outcome or end-results can vary due to the individual’s mindset, the method, the surgeon, and even the individual’s prior abilities (strength and flexibility). In addition, some doctors even deploy a limb lengthening age limit so individuals over 50 years old may not even be eligible, depending on the surgeon they consult with.

As always, do your research, speak with a professional and do what’s best for your own well-being.


[1] Costs & financial considerations. (2018, August 03). Retrieved September 06, 2021, from

[2] Deaton, A., & Arora, R. (2009, July). Life at the top: The benefits of height. Retrieved September 06, 2021, from

[3] Stulp, G., Buunk, A., Verhulst, S., & Pollet, T. (2015, February 26). Human height is positively related to interpersonal dominance in dyadic interactions. Retrieved September 06, 2021, from

[4] Stulp, G., Buunk, A., Verhulst, S., & Pollet, T. (2015, February 26). Human height is positively related to interpersonal dominance in dyadic interactions. Retrieved September 06, 2021, from

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