Interest in Limb-Lengthening Surgery has grown 65% over the past year, in part because of the rapid growth of dating apps and the way they’re designed.
Many dating apps allow users to filter by height and while height preferences exist in the real world, too, they’re much starker online; it’s hard to differentiate between 5’9″ and 5’10” in person. But a filter in an app is always focused on the easy-to-measure. A spontaneous in-person encounter can give someone many reasons to continue the conversation, but filtering in advance means foreclosing on the possibility before even considering someone’s other attributes. Bumble even restricts height filtering to paid accounts, knowing that it’s important enough to users that they’ll pay up to access it.
And while it used to be possible to avoid online dating apps, that’s no longer feasible: they’re the most common way for couples to meet one another, surpassing introductions from friends. Dating apps have become so pervasive that they’ve even changed the economics of bars and restaurants. Bars increasingly complain that app-originating first dates lead to a higher incidence of smaller tabs from patrons who take up space at peak hours.
Be up to the task
Limb-lengthening surgery has existed for years, particularly as a treatment for medical issues that lead to significant variance in height. While this kind of surgery is covered by insurance, limb lengthening for cosmetic purposes is generally paid for out of pocket, with a price of around $85,000. While this is steep for cosmetic surgery, some recipients decide it’s worth it for purely cosmetic reasons, or for a boost in confidence, while others make a more financial argument—according to research co-authored by the current president of Brown University, every inch of height correlates with an overage of $800 in extra annual earnings for men. This means it’s a medical operation that can, in theory, have a dollar return. Health care lenders like CareCredit will actually in some cases even provide loans for this surgery.
More broadly, beauty products and cosmetic surgery for men are becoming more socially acceptable, partly driven by marketing from companies like Hims that target men with appearance-focused messages. The pandemic has also helped raise demand for plastic surgery since it gave people ample time to recover without missing many social events or even showing their faces. It also meant that many people didn’t see their friends for weeks or months—enough time to make a change in appearance less noticeable.
What to buy to get taller
There’s already a niche market for height-enhancing products that are less drastic than surgery, like height-boosting insoles, shoes, and even socks. Many Amazon products that show up in searches related to increasing height will market themselves as a way to correct height discrepancies resulting from differences in limb length. Interestingly, these discrepancy fixing products aren’t sold for one foot or the other. Both the left and right are bundled, in part because it’s nearly the same cost to product package and ship one unit as it is two, and also because many customers don’t actually have a height discrepancy problem, just a height problem, so they need both left and right sides to solve their issue.
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