Cosmetic limb lengthening in a patient of normal stature: ethical considerations

Karthik Vishwanathan, Somashekhar Nimbalkar

Abstract

Recently, a 23-year-old male patient underwent cosmetic limb lengthening, despite the fact that his height was that of the average Indian male (5 feet 7 inches). The patient’s parents and the media criticised the orthopaedic surgeon who had performed the surgery for undertaking an unethical operation. This paper discusses the relevant clinical evidence, ethical aspects and ethical theories surrounding the case. We conclude that the surgeon’s decision to perform the surgery seems to be fair and appropriate from the ethical and clinical perspectives.

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