Height reduction surgery


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Description of the disease

One of the rarest surgical procedures in the world is height reduction surgery. Usually people have a desire to grow a few centimeters higher, but there are also those who go for the opposite. For many patients, reducing growth by surgery is the only way out of the situation. After all, there are also several indications for such kind of manipulation.

Ladisten is one of the few clinics where it is possible to “shrink” or get rid of limb length discrepancy by shortening them.

In which cases the operation should be performed?

Tall stature is not considered a pathology in most cases. Basketball players, sportsmen practicing other sports and models usually inherit their height from their parents. Their growth plates close on time, their physiological and psychological development does not suffer.

Pathologically high height is associated with gigantism – a disease caused by the failure of the pituitary gland. Growth hormone (GH) is produced in excess, so bones grow uncontrollably.

A height reduction operation is indicated in the following cases:

  • Elimination of limb length discrepancy if the patient’s height is above 190 cm. In this case, it makes no sense to “lengthen” the second limb and increase the height even more, but it is necessary to make the length of the limbs the same;
  • knitting of bones in the limb after tumor removal;
  • after resection of the affected part of the bone as a result of injury or inflammation. In this case the operated leg becomes shorter and more difficult to recover. The situation must be corrected by shortening the second one.

In cases mentioned above, the operation is performed on only one leg. In other situations, when a person is simply not satisfied with his or her height, it is also possible to perform a surgical operation. The patient undergoes plastic surgery to reduce his or her height by shortening both legs.

How the height is reduced

During a height reduction operation, the doctor removes a part of the bone – more specifically, of the hip or the lower leg. On the hip it is possible to remove up to 5 cm, and on the lower leg up to 5 cm. Depending on the situation, open surgery or minimally invasive manipulation is performed. The bone is cut in a specific place, shortened, and its ends are pressed tightly against each other for knitting.

There are several ways to fix the bone position: plates and screws, the Ilizarov device with spokes or the Veklich device with titanium rods.

The plates must be removed over time. This also requires general anesthesia.

The Ilizarov device made a breakthrough in orthopedic surgery at the time. With its help, it is possible to increase height, restore limbs after injuries, treat severe arthrosis. This is a complex unit that is fixed on the leg externally and holds the area to be knitted in the desired position. The device has its disadvantages – it is bulky and includes sharp, traumatic spokes.

A leg length reduction operation is prescribed after 18-20 years when the bone growth plates are completely closed. In childhood, in order to control growth, epiphysiodesis is used – that is, surgical destruction of growth plates at the end of the bone or their temporary blocking.

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Founder/Chief surgeon

The founder of “Ladisten” medical center of orthopedics and traumatology Veklich Vitaliy Viktorovich is a surgeon in the field of orthopedics and traumatology for children and adults who has been practicing for more than 40 years. Author of the modified external fixation devices – the Veklich devices.

Work experience: 40 years
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Doctor of Medicine, anesthesiologist

Work experience: 27 years
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Head doctor, orthopedic and traumatic surgeon

Head doctor of the Ladisten Clinic Medical Center, a professional certified surgeon in the field of pediatric and adult orthopedics and traumatology.

Work experience: 15 years
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How the surgery is carried out

At Ladisten, height reduction surgery is performed under epidural anesthesia. The patient does not feel anything while on the table. Depending on the complexity, the manipulation time takes 40-90 minutes. After removing a part of the bone, its ends are joined for further knitting.

In order to fix them, an advanced technology is used. Instead of spokes and plates, a titanium rod with a diameter of up to 6 mm is inserted. It passes into the leg from one side only, reducing the risk of inflammation and infection. The final fixation is achieved by using the Veklich device. This is an improved design of the Ilizarov device which weighs less, is ergonomically correct and more comfortable.


Leg shortening surgery requires high-quality rehabilitation. Full recovery can take up to 4-5 months, depending on the individual characteristics of the organism. Crutches or walkers are required in the first weeks. Muscle weakness may develop – in this case, physiotherapy is prescribed.

The bones must knit in the correct position – the final result depends on this. In the first months, serious physical activity is prohibited, so is better to avoid them for another six months after the initial recovery is complete. At Ladisten, there is an opportunity to undergo a rehabilitation course with help of professional massage therapists, exercise therapy and modern recovery techniques.

If you are wondering again and again about how to reduce your height, contact Ladisten for a consultation. A complete examination shows whether surgery is possible in every particular case.

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