She’s Got Legs. Knows How to Use Them. We’re Madly Jealous

mellieb on 15 Sep 2010 at 5:43pm

She’s Got Legs…She Knows How to Use Them…and We’re Madly Jealous

Giraffes. Gazelles. Antelopes. Elle Macpherson. What do they all have in common?

Legs that seemingly stretch on for city blocks, around the corner and out of sight. Long and lean and dramatic, imparting the most incredible slimming effect.

So what’s a girl to do if she’s got it all – looks, personality, style, brains – but her legs are stubby and short, with no hope of growing any longer? Are long legs a gift given only to models and tennis players?

The reality is, your leg shape [and visual length] is determined by a combination of skin, fat, muscle and bone. Dr. Carmen Kavali of Atlanta, a plastic surgeon, breaks it down for us without mincing words: “Surgery can't lengthen your leg bones, of course, so that's not an option (not electively, anyway).”

But there’s hope for the vertically challenged. Peter Aldea, Memphis plastic surgeon, says there are ways to visually slim your gams. On the right person, notes Dr. Aldea, liposuction may improve the appearance of thick legs.

Liposuction’s ability to make legs look slimmer and longer depends on the elasticity of the skin and the amount of fat that can be liposuctioned without deformity. You can view liposuction before and after photos here.

Don’t book your leg-lipo appointment just yet, though. The procedure is only helpful when legs are full due to excess fat. Thick muscles? Lipo’s not a solution – that’s a job for good ole’ diet and physical fitness. And according to David Shafer, a NY plastic surgeon, “If you have loose skin, then liposuction may just make you look like a deflated balloon.” Ouch – surely not a desired effect.

Dr. Richard Rand, a Seattle plastic surgeon, helps pull it all into perspective: “Unfortunately, there are no reasonable, cost-effective treatments that can make your legs significantly [longer and less stubby]. All you can really do is to maintain a great weight and exercise regularly and choose the right clothing.”

Short of investing heavily in high heels, long and lean pants, and miniskirts, those frustrated by short and stubby legs can take comfort in the words of Billy Joel: don’t go changing – love yourself just the way you are.

More on RealSelf

What do you think about bare legs over 40? (blog)

Careful about getting liposuction on the legs (review)

Before and After Pictures of Plastic Surgery