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Does Leg Lengthening Surgery Hurt?

Updated on July 9, 2012
Does leg lengthening surgery hurt..?
Does leg lengthening surgery hurt..?

Leg Lengthening Articles By The Same Author

Ouch! Looks painful...

At the age of 11 I underwent leg lengthening surgery. The aim was to provide me with an additional 3 inches in height to make up for the deficit caused by a growth disorder I was suspected of having.

I've got to say, one of the most common questions I am ever asked when talking about my experiences, is: "Did it hurt?"


To answer a fairly obvious question, I'm going to point out the situation I was in and let you work it out for yourself:

  1. I had rods stuck in my bones
  2. I had my legs snapped in half
  3. I had to force the break apart every day

Having said this though, it wasn't as painful as it might seem. I'll break it down for you.

Leg Lengthening Surgery: A brief breakdown of pain

There are a lot of aspects to leg lengthening surgery, and so I'm going to break it down into different sections so you can understand the pain level of each one.

The Surgery Itself

This is an easy one. Unless you count the injection I was given to send me to sleep, then the pain level here was zero. I was fast asleep throughout the entire process, and didn't wake up until it was over.

Once I was awake, I'd been given a spinal anesthetic numbing me from the waist down. Unfortunately, despite this meaning no pain, it also meant I needed help using the toilet...

The early stages

Ok, this bit was a little more painful. When the dressings were still fresh, my legs still unsure what had happened to them, and the spinal anesthetic (epidural) taken out... yes. It twinged a bit. But that didn't last too long, and regular pain killers kept it at bay. The worst pain coming from having the rods in my legs was if they were knocked. That was agony.

Turning the key

This is the part which I guess makes most people bring up their lunch. The turning of the key in order to pull my broken bones further apart.

Sometimes, if things were a bit tender, this was sore and ached. However, most of the time it just caused a slightly odd pulling sensation and nothing more.

Cleaning the pinsites

This is the part of leg lengthening surgery which could be classed as the 'Mr Un-Obvious' - as it's certainly not the first thing that comes to mind. But let me tell you, it was the most painful part of the entire experience.

In the early stages of having the contraption fitted, nurses had to actually bring me laughing gas to calm me down just to clean the pinsites.

On a normal day, it isn't bad... but if they were infected? They would swell up around the pins, inflamed, red and raw. Yet still I would have to dive in with a sterilized cotton bud dipped in boiling salt water to keep the sites clean and tidy. Agony.

My conclusion, is that all in all the entire experience is not nearly as painful as you might imagine. It's the unexpected part which caused the most pain.

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    • profile image

      Adam 3 years ago

      Must of been a very painful procedure lucky u didn't get infected

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      why would you want to grow taller?

      I have a friend who will reach an adult height of 4'9".

      You poor thing that would have been a very awful and painful ordeal for you. Leg lengthening surgery makes you grow taller...my heart breaks for you.

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      Author

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Thanks for your comments Pam

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 5 years ago from Miller Lake

      You poor soul this must have been a very awful and painful ordeal for you to go through hopefully the end result was well worth all the pain and discomfort you had to experience to get it; thanks for sharing your story. take care pam.