Sara Vornamen had reached her full height at 5 feet, and she was tired of nicknames like “small fry.”
So the 29-year-old attorney from England traveled to Russia for a painful and controversial leg-lengthening surgery.
Vornamen said she gained 3 inches in height, and despite the pain, she has never felt better about herself, the Daily Mail reported.
Leg-lengthening surgeries at the Ilizarov Scientific Center in Kurgan, Russia, can cost up to $147,000, and the painful rehabilitation process can take up to one year.
Still, the clinic has seen 10,000 patients walk through its doors in the past 10 years, the Daily Mail reported.
“Even though I had an honors’ degree in law, it was very hard for me to gain respect because my tiny size affected the way people thought about me,” Vornamen said. “I looked, and sometimes felt, like a child.”
For Vornamen’s procedure, doctors broke her legs at the shin bones, and then attached a contraption called the Ilizarov Frame using spiky pins. The frame provides the support of a cast that gradually moves the two sections of the bone further away from one another.
By pushing the broken bones away, new bone cells are forced to form and fill in the space between. New nerves and muscles also grow.
Vornamen said the rehabilitation process was “agonizing,” but she has never regretted her decision.
“I am happier, more confident and my legs work fine,” she said. “I no longer have to shop at the children's department for clothes. I now feel like a proper woman.”