It’s a real procedure in which an internal device is inserted into the bones in the legs. Post-surgery, patients then use an external remote control to stretch their legs by one millimeter per day, gradually increasing height by up to three inches per surgery. Some patients may opt for a second surgery, enabling a height increase of six inches total.

Limb-lengthening surgery has been around in some capacity for more than 80 years, says Dr. Kevin Debiparshad, an orthopedic surgery specialist who heads the LimbplastX Institute in Las Vegas. But the procedure has grown in popularity and recognition in recent years thanks to improvements in medical technology, including the 2018 introduction of a full weight-bearing, FDA-cleared implant, which Dr. Debiparshad was only the second surgeon to place.