Chinese man, 22, faces permanent disabilities after receiving botched leg-lengthening surgery

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A man in China faces being permanently disabled after a botched leg-lengthening procedure left him with severe infections in his limbs.

The 22-year-old, who remains unidentified, had travelled oversea to receive the surgery in a bid to become 5ft9 after feeling insecure about his height for years, reported Chinese media.

But the man’s dream of growing taller turned into a nightmare after he suffered serious complications for months and eventually lost the ability to walk.

A man in China faces being permanently disabled after a botched leg-lengthening procedure left him with severe infections in his limbs. The stock photo shows a man being examined

A man in China faces being permanently disabled after a botched leg-lengthening procedure left him with severe infections in his limbs. The stock photo shows a man being examined

The 22-year-old, who remains unidentified, had travelled oversea to receive the surgery in a bid to become 5ft9 after feeling insecure about his height for years, reported Chinese media. The picture shows Dr Wang Lei from the Jiangsu hospital looking at the patient's CT scan

The 22-year-old, who remains unidentified, had travelled oversea to receive the surgery in a bid to become 5ft9 after feeling insecure about his height for years, reported Chinese media. The picture shows Dr Wang Lei from the Jiangsu hospital looking at the patient’s CT scan

The incident was brought to light when the Chinese man sought medical attention last week at the Huaian Second People’s Hospital in east China’s Jiangsu province.

The patient felt insecure about his height for a long time and hoped to be 1.8 metres (5ft9), Dr Wang Lei, a chief orthopaedist at the hospital, told the local media.

Last year, he decided to travel oversea to undergo the limb-lengthening surgery, which involves cutting the leg bones and inserting a stretching device with nails in one’s limbs.

The trend for leg-extending surgery swept China where minimum heights are often quoted in personal adverts and job advertisements as the country opened up to the West.

To join the foreign service, men were required to be at least 5ft7. But the controversial surgery was banned in 2006 after a succession of botched jobs.

The patient felt insecure about his height for a long time and hoped to be 1.8 metres (5ft9), Dr Wang Lei (pictured), a chief orthopaedist at the hospital, told the local media

The patient felt insecure about his height for a long time and hoped to be 1.8 metres (5ft9), Dr Wang Lei (pictured), a chief orthopaedist at the hospital, told the local media

Meanwhile, a ‘growing’ number of men are pursuing limb-lengthening operations in Europe and the US.

It remains unclear how much the Chinese man had spent on his surgery, but such operation can cost up to £76,400.

But the man’s dream of becoming 5ft9 was shattered when he began suffering a series of complications due to the failed surgery.

‘The nail path of the external fixed frame [for the legs] had serious infections which further developed into osteomyelitis,’ Dr Wang told Jiangsu Television.

‘Therefore, this surgery for the patient had failed. It caused him physical disabilities and a tremendous amount of financial burden,’ he added.

The trend for leg-extending surgery swept China where minimum heights are often quoted in personal adverts and job advertisements as the country opened up to the West. This file photo shows Chinese men commuting on a street in Beijing on September 24

The trend for leg-extending surgery swept China where minimum heights are often quoted in personal adverts and job advertisements as the country opened up to the West. This file photo shows Chinese men commuting on a street in Beijing on September 24

The man is likely to face permanent disabilities due to the severe condition of his limbs, according to the medic.

Dr Wang warned that such operations come with a high risk of complications and extreme pains.

‘Because first of all, the treatment cycle is very long, often several years, and the impact on the life of the patient is very significant.

‘Also, the patient has to go through several operations, and the risks of the operation are inevitable, such as infections and blood clots,’ Dr Wang said.

What is leg-lengthening surgery? 

Using surgery, the leg bone is broken and fixed to a special frame. With the support of the frame, the leg is stretched, allowing new bone to form in between the two broken ends of bone.

Over time, this bone gets stronger until it’s able to support your weight.

Distraction can sometimes result in a significant increase in height, but it’s a lengthy treatment and has a risk of complications, so isn’t always recommended.

Some people have pain during or after the limb-lengthening procedure.

Other possible complications include:

  • poor bone formation
  • bone lengthening at an inappropriate rate
  • blood clots

There’s also some uncertainty about the safety and effectiveness of the procedure.

It’s therefore important that you understand exactly what it involves and talk to your surgeon or doctor about the risks if it’s suggested as a possible treatment for you or your child.

 Source: NHS

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