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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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How to increase height?
Posted by: niraaaj
Date: January 19, 2000 10:00 AM

How can I increase my height? I am only 5 ft and my age is 20.

How to increase height?
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: January 24, 2000 9:23 PM

While orthotics can increase your height up to one inch, at age 20 the only method to actually increase body length is surgical. It involves lengthening the long bones of the thigh and lower leg bones. These bilateral leg-lengthening surgeries can increase height up to 12 inches. However, these procedures are associated with many complications and should only be done in a center that is well experienced in the procedure. This procedure is more commonly done in Japan. There is a period of being bed-ridden several months during which infection and blood clotting problem must be prevented. The epiphyses (growth centers) of the long bones close at age 18. After that there can be no natural increase in height. If you have relatives of short stature under 18, it would be worthwhile to have growth hormone studies and consider supplementation if this is the problem. Growth hormone deficiency is the most common cause of very short stature and is easily corrected if diagnosed early. Another cause is thyroid hormone deficiency and all children of short stature should be tested for this disorder which leads to a condition called "cretinism."

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