Aim: To promote a discussion on the ethics and justifications of stature lengthening in patients without skeletal deformity.
Background: Stature lengthening for height gain in patients without skeletal deformity has stirred controversy within the orthopedic community. However, current literature does not delineate the ethical issues surrounding this procedure. Improvements in the techniques, technology, and safety profile of stature lengthening warrant an ethical discussion to challenge, justify, and guide the use of this surgical procedure.
Review results: Examination of ethical issues leads to the distinction between the dual roles of stature lengthening as a treatment vs an enhancement. The primary focus on stature lengthening as treatment allows for exploration of “height dysphoria”—a psychological burden caused by a dissatisfaction with one\'s height—as the primary pathology that may justify surgical intervention.
Conclusion: In our opinion, additional work is required to establish “height dysphoria” as a true pathology in order to ethically justify stature lengthening as a legitimate form of treatment. Further discussion is needed to address the ethics of stature lengthening as an enhancement.
Clinical significance: This paper addresses salient ethical issues of stature lengthening in patients without skeletal deformity by exploring historical, contemporary, and comparative contexts.
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