We previously covered aesthetic shoulder-narrowing mutilation. They’re doing the limbs too.
Alğan, who’s 30, is from the city of Adana in southern Turkey. He was 5-foot-2 and had strong feelings about his height… Alğan said his colleagues made jokes about his height at least once a week. He said he felt tall people around him were more popular and had more opportunities…
After two rounds of leg-lengthening surgery, Alğan added 5 inches to his height. He didn’t tell anyone about his first operation, in February 2015, thinking they wouldn’t understand. It made him 2.4 inches taller. When people noticed, he said that he had a bone deformity and needed surgery to rectify it. He had a second operation in March 2020 that added another 2.4 inches to his height.
The medical industry sanitizes the mutilation by branding it “cosmetic stature lengthening.” Research published in Bone & Joint Research notes in passing that “multiple complications have been reported with the use of limb lengthening techniques for cosmetic indications, including pin site infections, nerve injuries, compartment syndrome, joints stiffness, and LLD [leg length discrepancy].”
What’s a little compartment syndrome — which, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, may result in permanent disability and tissue death — in the service of soothing your neurotic insecurities?
“Medicalization” refers to the practice of turning any and every source of human self-consciousness — like being short — into a remediable, exploitable medical issue:
Medicalization can be defined as the process by which some aspects of human life come to be considered as medical problems, whereas before they were not considered pathological.
Every year, the medical industry “discovers” (invents) new health conditions that it conveniently either currently has or is developing treatments for. New problems in need of solutions are created by the people offering those solutions (for the right price).
Healthcare, in the traditional sense, is the business of making people healthy and whole. Marketing is the business of selling new products to people, irrespective of whether they need them or not.
These motivations are divergent and often contradictory.
It’s possible, of course, and often happens, that a medical product or service comes along that genuinely enhances health. Marketers then sell it to customers, and everyone more or less benefits in the free market ideal. The patient (or his insurance) hands over cash, and the medical firm hands over healing. In such a case, healthcare and marketing are synergistic forces.
But there’s no stipulation that a healthcare product or service must actually enhance human well-being. From the marketer’s perspective, the healthcare value of a healthcare product is only relevant insofar as the perception of its efficacy affects its market value.
The regulatory agencies, theoretically, are tasked with vetting medical products and services to determine their healthcare value and relative potential risks and benefits. But when the watchmen are essentially wholly owned subsidiaries of the industry they’re tasked with watching, their review process is little more than a ceremonial rubber stamp exercise.