I paid $27,000 for leg extension surgery to change the way I see myself. I used to feel like a kid when I wore a suit and couldn’t stand jokes about my height.

Ibrahim Algan, in a wheelchair after surgery, right and outside after one of his surgeries. He paid nearly $27,000 for surgery to lengthen his legs.Courtesy of Wannabetaller

  • Ibrahim Algan paid almost $27,000 for surgery to lengthen his legs.

  • The 30-year-old told Insider that he hates being short. “When you’re young, you start 1-0 down.”

  • After her leg lengthening surgery, Alğan founded a Turkey-based clinic offering the same procedure.

As a school counselor, Ibrahim Algan’s job was to help young people solve their problems. And yet he couldn’t solve his: a serious height complex.

Algan, who is 30 years old, is from the city of Adana in southern Turkey. He was 5 feet tall and had strong feelings about his height.

“If you’re shorter, people don’t take you as seriously as a tall person,” he told Insider. He said he felt he was not confident enough to help students at his school.

“I strongly believe that charisma is one of the must-have characteristics of leadership,” he said. “When you’re young, you start 1-0 down.”

Algan said his co-workers joke about his height at least once a week. He said he felt the tall people around him were more popular and had more opportunities. “They were more advantageous in both personal relationships and recruiting,” he said.

He said he never forgot his first girlfriend, who told him he wished he was taller, and said derogatory comments throughout his life “always stuck” as a “wound in me”.

So he researches methods that claim to help a person grow taller. He took powders and pills to increase his height. He played basketball, swam and jumped.

“I was hanging from the bar minutes before I fell asleep almost every night,” he said. “I used reflexology insoles that were claimed to stimulate height gain.”

Nothing worked except the hidden heel shoes that made him up to 3 inches taller. But they were not enough. “It was like a fake dream,” he said. “Every time I took my shoes off, I faced reality again.

“My obsession grew bigger every day.”

“My Life’s Purpose”

Ibrahim Alğan lies on a hospital bed before surgery.

Ibrahim Algan lies on a hospital bed before surgery.

Alğan underwent his first surgery in February 2015.Courtesy of Wannabetaller

After two rounds of leg lengthening surgery, Alğan added 5 inches to his height.

He didn’t tell anyone about his first surgery in February 2015, thinking they wouldn’t know.

This made it 2.4 inches taller. When people noticed, he said he had a bone deformity and needed surgery to correct it.

He had a second surgery in March 2020 which added another 2.4 inches to his height.

A 2020 review of the results of cosmetic limb lengthening surgery found that the most common complications were deformity of the newly formed bone after treatment was completed and stiffness or deformity of the joint that connects the foot and ankle. The same study concluded that the procedure has a “low rate of major complications”, but more guidance is needed on who should and should not go under the knife.

Algan said the operation changed his perspective so much that he quit his job as a consultant and started his own clinic in Turkey offering leg lengthening surgeries. He is the main coordinator and his team consists mainly of other people who have undergone the surgery.

“I realized that there are many people who want to do this surgery in Turkey, but there are not many opportunities to consult or even get more information about the limb-leg lengthening process,” he said.

His Wanna Be Taller clinic charges between $23,850 and $51,850 depending on whether the patient wants to grow 3, 4, 5 or 6 inches.

He said he had not considered running a leg extension business before undergoing the surgery. “My only goal—I might even call it my life’s goal—was to get taller.”

A new group of patients

Leg lengthening surgery has been a hot topic in recent months. It was originally used to treat people with different leg lengths, but is now used by patients who want to get taller.

Kevin Debiparshad, a Harvard-trained surgeon known as one of the world’s leading limb and leg lengthening surgeons, said the procedure involves cutting the leg bones — either the femur (the upper leg bone) or the tibia (the lower leg bone legs).

“I make four to six tiny, tiny incisions in the leg, creating an access window to the hollow part of the bone, where I insert a device that responds to an external remote control that the patient will operate at home,” Debiparshad said.

The remote control is used by the patient to increase their height by 1 millimeter per day after surgery, in a process that is usually painless.

He told Insider that increased media coverage and reduced stigma surrounding cosmetic procedures has opened up the procedure to a new group of patients.

“Traditionally, the majority of my patients are younger, shorter men who are looking to increase their height. However, we see many older patients, people of average height, female patients and even those seeking height reduction surgery,” he said. “The latter group includes people who are reassigning and wanting their bodies to better align with how they are perceived.’

“Now I can see myself as a real adult”

Ibrahim Alğan sits outside with his legs crossed.

Ibrahim Algan sits cross-legged outside.

Alğan was 5ft 2 before the leg lengthening surgery.Courtesy of Wannabetaller.

Algan said his life has changed “dramatically” since he got taller.

“When I put on a suit, I felt like a kid, but now I see myself as a real adult,” he said. “I hear the phrase ‘this outfit suits you’ more and it has a positive impact on many aspects of my life.”

He likes that he doesn’t have to look up when he’s talking to people, and it allows him to “think more clearly and thus make better decisions.”

He said his new job running the clinic has similarities to his old role as a counselor: “I support people who have psychological difficulties growing up.”

“People don’t make jokes about my height anymore,” he said. “As a leader, I don’t think there is anything more valuable than the confidence I have now.

Correction: January 8, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misstated how much Wanna Be Taller charges for its surgery.

Editor’s Note: January 9, 2023 — The third bullet of this story has been updated to reflect the fact that Ibrahim Algan founded a clinic offering leg lengthening surgery after undergoing the same procedure himself. The story has also been updated to include details from a 2020 study on the most common complications associated with the procedure.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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