• Dr. Yuksel Yurttas

How to Grow Taller After Puberty

One of the most curious things about height growth is whether it is possible to increase height after puberty. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion in this regard, and there are many deceptive commercial initiatives put forward as solutions. However, if we understand the natural growth process correctly, we can easily understand what works and what does not for height increase. In this article, you will understand the natural growth process and find the most accurate and permanent solution to short stature.

If you have short stature, you probably encounter many problems in daily life from childhood. Just as overweight people are given useless information about losing weight, short people are often given unhelpful advice about increasing their height from childhood. So even if short stature is not a problem for you, it permeates your subconscious as if it is a problem. This situation, which also causes psychological effects, can become a permanent problem as you get older and affect you in many different areas, from your career to your relationships.

As soon as you accept short stature as a problem, you start looking for a solution. Unfortunately, another danger awaits you here: entrepreneurs trying to take advantage of your problem. Many pills, drugs, and supplements on the market promise a sure-fire solution to increase your height. You try them all in order, but the result is the same: Nothing.

Let's take a closer look at the natural growth process and see why many of the things that have been proposed as solutions to short stature will not work.

Height growth in childhood and puberty

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) produced by the pituitary gland is the primary growth factor in children and adolescents. This hormone helps regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and heart function.

Sports in childhood
According to studies, 60-80% of the height difference in humans is genetic, while 20-40% is due to environmental factors and physical activity

While the average height increase is 6 cm per year during childhood, it can increase up to 8 cm when puberty begins.

Girls experience a rapid growth spurt 6-12 months before the onset of the menstrual cycle. But then growth slows down.

On the other hand, boys show a rapid growth spurt about two years after girls, while the highest growth is recorded before spermarche (semenarche) at about 9 cm per year. However, boys take longer to grow up than girls.

In both sexes, height growth continues until the growth plates close towards the end of puberty. Growth plates usually close at 15-16 years old in girls and 17-18 years old in boys. However, this period can rarely continue until 19-20 years old in some people.

Growth Plate
Growth Plate on X-ray (Case Vignette – May 2020 | The Medicolegal Mind)

Although genetics is the most important factor in height growth, a healthy diet, healthy sleep habits, and various physical activities can promote growth during adolescence. If you are still in adolescence and want to get taller, you should review these habits now.

However, even if your genetic heritage is good, some habits can negatively affect the body's natural growth process. These are overweight, poor sleep habits, protein and calcium deficiency, and smoking during adolescence.

Height growth after puberty

When puberty ends, the growth plates close, and the body does not produce new bone tissue. Although most people don't gain height after growth plates close, some individuals may grow a few more centimeters in early adulthood.

height measurement
Even with nutritional supplements, a healthy diet, and exercise, most people don't gain height after puberty.

Can pills, medications, and supplements promote height growth in puberty?

The answer to this question is short and clear: No. Once the growth plates close, you can't get taller with supplements, medication, and pills. Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence that supplements and medications promote height growth. In addition, these drugs that are consumed unconsciously can cause various side effects.

To promote height growth in puberty, take good sleep, do regular exercises, and eat a balanced diet. If you have finished puberty and wonder how to grow taller after 20, the next part is for you.

How to get taller as an adult?

A decades ago, It was impossible to answer this question except by repeating the same myths. However, with technological developments in orthopedics, we have a proven permanent solution to short stature in adults today.

The only permanent way to increase height after puberty is limb lengthening. Limb lengthening is a surgical procedure to lengthen the leg or arm bones. This procedure can be done to correct limb length discrepancies or for cosmetic purposes.

With a single limb lengthening procedure, it is possible to lengthen the lower leg (tibia) up to 6 cm (2.4 inches) and the upper leg (femur) up to 8 cm (3.2 inches). With two limb lengthening procedures, it is possible to grow up to 13-15 cm in total.

Limb lengthening is accomplished by taking advantage of the body's ability to regenerate new bone naturally. With an osteotomy procedure, the bone to be lengthened is cut and then stabilized with various external and-or internal fixation devices or frames.

The cut bone is gradually separated to promote new bone growth at the osteotomy site. Distracting the gap by 1 mm per day promotes the continued growth of new bone tissue. The body continues to produce new bone tissue in the gap between the ends of the bones as it opens up until the desired bone length is formed.

limb lengthening x-rays
Limb lengthening surgery X-rays (left: LON method, right: Precice 2.2 method)

Limb lengthening surgery can be performed with different methods. Although old methods require a long treatment period, it is possible to return to daily life within 3-4 months after surgery with advanced methods.

How old do I have to be to have limb lengthening surgery?

The age limit for limb lengthening surgery depends on the purpose of the surgery. There is no age limit for limb lengthening surgery in limb length discrepancies. However, to have cosmetic limb lengthening surgery, you must be between 18 to 50 years old. To be more specific, the necessary condition for young patients who want to have limb lengthening surgery is that the growth plates are closed. The necessary condition for patients over 50 is bone quality and bone density.

Also, if you're under the age of 18 and your growth plates haven't closed yet, you have a chance to grow taller with exercise, good sleep habits, and a nutritious diet. But if you haven't been growing naturally for a long time, you should go to a nearby hospital and get medical advice.

If you're an adult, trying supplements, medications, and exercise programs to increase your height is a waste of your time.

For more information about limb lengthening surgery, you can browse other pages and articles on our website or contact us to book a free consultation with our healthcare professionals.

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