Home Tips Inside the World of Leg Lengthening | GQ

Inside the World of Leg Lengthening | GQ

by Moon
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Gq i wish i was a little bit taller

John Lovedale is feeling pretty good, despite the fact that he should not be walking right now. It’s a little after 9 a.m. on a hot Saturday morning in Las Vegas and he’s ambling through the Aria Resort & Casino with a pronounced limp, wincing as he throws his hips into wide semicircles and dragging his feet exactly where they need to be. The effect is like a Grand Theft Auto extra who’s just been sniped in the butt.

John is in his mid-40s and stands five feet eleven and a half. Big-hearted laugh. Built like a saguaro cactus. If you squint he kind of resembles a brolic Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s in town to see his orthopedic surgeon, having arrived last night from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he works as a network engineer for the government. He almost missed his flight and was in such a rush he forgot to bring the crutches he’s supposed to be using, but, again, he’s been feeling pretty good.

That John is on his feet at all is impressive—and probably foolish—considering that only eight months prior, he was five feet eight and a half. 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.

With a procedure like this, there are, of course, some caveats. All the height gain obviously comes from your legs, so your proportions can look a little weird, especially when you’re naked. Also, the recovery can be long and taxing. When we meet, the bones in John’s legs are not yet fully healed, and a small section of his right femur is still a little soft, like al dente spaghetti; the smallest stumble could snap a bone in two. And it’s especially dangerous since he’s a big guy, over 200 pounds.

Then there’s the pain, which is relentless, ambient. The extension of the nails in his legs stretched the nerves and tissue around the bones—especially the thick, meaty muscles like the hamstrings—to an almost excruciating degree. He couldn’t walk for months. “They fill you with enough painkillers that it’s bearable,” John explains, but his biggest fear was becoming addicted to the drugs, so he weaned himself off the regimen earlier than he should have.

Why would someone like John—handsome, confident, funny, a father to three—shell out for a procedure that costs more than a Tesla and results in months of agony for a couple of extra inches? It’s not like he was particularly short, at just shy of the average height of an American man (five feet nine). But the opportunity to be above average was too good to pass up. “I noticed that taller people just seem to have it easier,” John says, laughing. He shrugs. “The world seems to bend for them.”

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