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Warning on leg-lengthening surgery
( 2003-09-29 15:49) (News.com)

A health lobby group has called for more community awareness about discrimination against short people after a barrister's decision to have a painful leg-lengthening procedure to make her taller.

Sara Vornamen, a 25-year-old Brisbane woman, went to Russia last year for a painful, $40,000 operation to lengthen her legs by eight cm, increasing her height to 162 cm.

She chronicles her experiences in her book, God Made Me Small, Surgery Made Me Tall.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Ingrid Tall today acknowledged "shortism" as a real problem in society but called for more debate about the issue, rather than leg lengthening procedures.

"I think awareness of shortism should be increased because it's unfair that people are discriminated against for this," she said.

Dr Tall said studies had found short men were less likely to be promoted at work, had more difficulty finding a partner and earned less on average than their taller counterparts.

But she said leg lengthening procedures were not the answer.

"When you look at the fight against discrimination against women and homosexuals and coloured people, I think to become aware of discrimination is the first step in the process of eliminating it," she said.

"Perhaps ... people need to be aware that there is this, often unconscious form of discrimination, and sometimes you need to make conscious decisions to counteract ingrained forms of discrimination."

Dr Tall said in extreme cases, the leg-lengthening procedure could result in amputation if a chronic infection developed.

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