Mon | Mar 4, 2024
Stranger than Fiction

Man extended his legs by 22cm to realise his dream of driving diggers

Published:Thursday | November 30, 2023 | 7:30 AMBANG Bizarre

Construction worker Tom Huschenbett, 23, previously stood at 4 foot 3 inches but has now increased in size by nine inches after surgeons in Munich conducted six operations in which his shinbones were purposely fractured and telescopic rods were inserted into the gaps to enable growth.

Huschenbett's boost in stature has allowed him to realise his ambition of driving the most powerful diggers and dumper trucks without the need for prostheses to help him reach the pedals.

The leg-stretching technique was first developed in the years following World War II by Soviet surgeon Gavriil Ilizarov. The procedure has since been refined and is now carried out on several hundred patients per year – often for cosmetic reasons.

Huschenbett told the German newspaper Bild: "I had my legs broken for the sake of my dream.

"When I was training to be a construction machine operator, of course I wanted to drive the really chunky things on the building site. But with my size that was tough."

 

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