Too fat; too tall; too hairy; too bald; can’t vend Snickers bars from our foreheads–we humans are seemingly never happy with our bodies. For many these hangups stem from a simple lack self-esteem, but over the years cosmetic surgery has grown to become a multi-million-dollar industry, with more than 15 million people choosing to have work done in 2011 alone.

We’ve shown you the horrors of plastic surgery on more than one occasion, but this latest story sends shivers down our spine. According to Japan’s Livedoor News, more young Koreans than ever are opting for costly and painful limb-lengthening surgery, despite the fact that five in six who underwent the procedure at one particular hospital met with complications, and some have lost the ability to walk entirely.

Although limb lengthening was originally developed to help those with deformities or whose arms or legs had been damaged in accidents, the newest procedure cost tens of thousands of dollars and works by inserting telescopic rods directly into the patient’s tibia and fibula. Over a series of months, the devices push the bone apart a millimetre at a time, encouraging the body to grow new bone to replace it. Are you squirming in your seat yet?

Telling prospective patients during initial consultations that they could “grow” as much as 13 centimetres (five inches) taller by having a complete course of limb-lengthening surgery, hospitals in Korea reportedly treat as many as 600 patients each year. As the surgery becomes increasingly common, however, so too do cases of former patients taking legal action after suffering unwanted side effects.

The pelvis of one 20-year-old man, Livedoor News reports, decayed completely following surgery to lengthen his legs, leaving him completely unable to walk. A man in his 30s, meanwhile, is suing his hospital as he is still unable to walk without the use of crutches more than a year later. Hardly the life he had imagined before going under the knife, we’re sure. The man also told a local newspaper that of the six people who underwent the treatment at the same hospital, five of them are currently suffering with side effects.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you are each and every one of you free to do with your bodies as you please, but you should know that the things you’re hung up about are usually nowhere near as a big a deal to others as you may think. But if you’re considering spending vast sums of money having your bones cut into and stretched in order to be a little bit taller, be sure to do your homework and think long and hard before making your final decision.

Source: Livedoor News via Hachima KikouMail Online
Top image via Zimbio