Height is of great importance in Asia-Pacific and is a major factor in employment discrimination in many governmental positions and almost any private sector job. Applicants to become flight attendants, for instance, are routinely turned down because they are a half inch too short. Apart from cosmetic leg lengthening, an extreme and risky operation now banned in most East Asian countries, there has been no solution.
Now there is. A well-known plastic surgeon in Spain, Dr. Luis de la Cruz of Madrid, has devised a method of adding up to 5 cm to a person's height by inserting a silicone cap implant atop the head. An incision is made in the scalp and the implant is placed between the bone and overlying soft tissue. While seemingly an odd procedure, it is similar to Asian forehead augmentation using a silicone implant.
(Video in Spanish)
The relatively simple operation is performed under local anesthesia and takes about 90 minutes. Recovery is said to be rapid. The resulting scar is small and easily covered by the hair.
Theoretical risks could include interference with blood flow to the scalp with some resulting hair loss (as in brow-forehead lift), but this complication has not been reported.
Adding a half-inch of elevation might be almost unnoticeable; add two inches might risk a cone head. People with long, thin heads to start are advised against surgery as the result can appear odd.
One use that has been suggested is to have the implant placed only temporarily in order to circumvent minimum height discrimination practices after which the solid silicone cap could be removed.
While the operation does sound a bit "weird" on first hearing, all cosmetic plastic surgery operations are in their own ways. Implants are today placed widely in almost every area of the body.
While facial implants are used less commonly in those of Asian descent where reduction is more the plastic surgery norm, the Asian short stature issue is well known and not otherwise easily addressed.
• Related: A Fairy Tale Approach to Increasing Height
Next: Chinese Foot Binding
More from Everything Else >
Head Implant to Add Height