Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vertically Challenged? Get Height Implants

Too short? Lack of height getting in the way of your massive vanity? Then why not get ... height implants!
Jeff’s career as an architect at a prestigious East Coast firm was taking off. At 26, he was successful and athletic, and he had no trouble meeting women. There was, however, one problem. Though it was imperceptible to friends and colleagues, Jeff (his name has been changed) was tortured by a sense that he had been born with the wrong body. Jeff was five feet six inches tall, and he was obsessed with his height—or his lack of it. “To the outside world I was extremely confident, but my height was always an insecurity,” he says.
Then, about a year ago, Jeff came across a posting on an online message board about a “miracle” surgery at the Betz Institute, in Lebach, Germany—an advanced procedure that promised to make him almost four inches taller (most lengthening procedures guarantee only about two inches) with far fewer health risks. Instead of attaching an external cage, it involved implanting stretching devices inside his legs. He’d still be effectively crippled for months, but he wouldn’t need a wheelchair, just crutches. After three months of deliberating, Jeff flew to Germany to meet with Dr. Augustin Betz.

At the institute, Jeff saw postoperative patients looking happy and healthy. Most had gained between three and four inches in height. And all had good things to say about Dr. Betz. One even called the procedure “no big deal.” So Jeff broke up with his girlfriend—he’d always felt she held his height against him anyway—sold his car, liquidated some investments, borrowed money from his parents (the only people who knew about the plan), and took a leave of absence from work. He told his friends he would be doing an internship abroad for the next several months.
A person could argue that to pay upwards of $100,000 for a risky, excruciating surgery that adds just a few inches to your frame is insane. CLL [cosmetic limb-lengthening] is by far the most extreme (and expensive) procedure that a human being can submit to in the name of vanity. Most lipo and facial-surgery patients can go home within an hour. Recovery time for calf and pec implants is a couple of weeks. And at $8,000, penile implants seem like a bargain by comparison—plus, in terms of pure physical pain, there is no contest. Beyond the agony of having your bones cut in two and stretched, CLL carries risks like pinhole infections, nerve damage, and severe deformity.
The lengths (heights?) people go to in the name of pure vanity! This is not to knock all cosmetic surgery -- far from it -- things like reconstructive surgery after accidents or to correct deformities are important medical treatments. And obviously we can all understand the human urge to improve one's appearance, to be seen as desirable to our mates (or potential mates), maybe even to enhance our career prospects, but at some point an obsession with physical appearance can't be good for long-term psychological health. When your self-esteem is so intimately tied to your physical appearance, what happens when the inevitable onslaught of time destroys that picture-perfect image? Indeed, we all get old, and our physical appearances ultimately age -- wrinkles form, abdomens expand, breasts sag, muscles lose definition -- an obsession with physical appearance and the idea of eternal youth seems like it would ultimately become self-destructive and harmful to one's mental well-being.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will get one if genetic reprogramming isn't invented until then. And btw the pain... I'm guessing it's incomparable to that of giving birth to a child.

Of course it's a lengthy and constant pain, but the satisfaction to not be limited by height in the choice of a partner is... huge.