Rich Lotera, 38, is an actor who underwent limb lengthening surgery to advance his career.
He says he’s grown three inches taller and more confident, but it’s been painful.
Rotella has no regrets and is working on a documentary about his experience.
This essay is based on a conversation with Rich Rotella, a 38-year-old actor from Los Angeles, about how he underwent leg-lengthening surgery to help him succeed in his career. Edited for length and clarity.
I’ve always felt the need to be taller, even as a teenager. I sought medical advice from a doctor in Frederick County, Maryland. Doctors recommended various options to increase height, one of which he included growth hormone, which he ultimately never took.
I decided to wait for my late adolescent growth spurt, but in 2002, when I was 17, playing basketball with my brothers, I broke my arm and an x-ray showed that my growth plates were closed. My doctor said I was never going to be taller than 5’5.
Considered leg lengthening surgery in 2013, but it was too expensive
I first considered having the surgery in 2013, but I was married. Research has shown that the surgery cost her over $100,000. At the time, spending that kind of money didn’t seem plausible.
was an actor in hollywood Since 2009, he has worked with a handful of celebrities and talented filmmakers, from Betty White to Mindy Sterling. Over time, I seemed stuck in the sidekick role, so in 2019, on the eve of his 10th anniversary in Hollywood, several directors and filmmakers asked me to We asked them to share their candid opinions about their careers. I was told that I couldn’t get the leading role because of my height.
They told me that lead actors are usually over 5 feet 8 inches. It was a shock and I felt like I had a few pegs knocked over. It took me some time to ponder it—and then the pandemic happened. My feelings felt insignificant compared to what was going on in the world.
The next step was choosing a surgeon
I came across your YouTube channel in October 2020 “Cyborg 4 Life” Completely devoted to cosmetic limb lengthening and limb mismatch information. After watching all the videos and being impressed, I decided to send a message to the creator, Victor Egonu. I would love to collaborate on a documentary about my surgical journey.
We hit it off and put our ideas Nuvasive, a hardware company responsible for manufacturing equipment used in surgery. After a series of discussions, the company stepped in and played a key role in providing the hardware for the procedure, helping the documentary move forward.
I chose Dr. Dror Paley Paley Institute as a surgeon in West Palm Beach, Florida.he has already done more Over 20,000 surgeries, And I knew I could count on him to do amazing things.
Throughout the process, I kept my intentions secret. Months before my surgery in April 2022, I shared my plans with my girlfriend. We started dating after we got divorced. She was the only one I said before entering.
You wake up perfectly healthy undergoing surgery and with a broken leg
After surgery, the Institute requested a three-month rest period at the facility. There, he works with a physiotherapist to regrow his bones from scratch five times a week.The surgery itself took him four hours, but recovery is the most time-consuming part. It’s a slow and painful process. He had severely limited mobility and was on strong medication.
The price of the procedure depends on the method chosen and whether physiotherapy is included. I chose to operate on my thigh or above my knee and in the end he spent over $100,000. My insurance didn’t cover the surgery, but I recommend including a physical therapy session in your cost analysis.
Immediately after the surgery, I sent a mass email to my family and friends to let them know of my decision. I got mixed reactions, but many questioned my judgment.
It’s a very painful experience
This is one of the most difficult things in my life. The bones grow back slowly: the device stretches the leg rods he has about a millimeter a day.
You have to dedicate yourself to the process. Do intensive research about the type of treatment you want and the recovery process, meet a healthcare professional who will work with you, and follow every step.
For professionals considering doing this, having a backup plan is essential. This can have a huge impact on your career as you will be unable to work for months. And you can’t do it alone. Luckily, I was able to make the trip go smoothly with the help of my girlfriend.
This surgery gave me confidence for auditions.
I am currently working on a documentary, due for release in 2024, in post-production. I have also started looking for opportunities to get in touch with key studio executives in hopes of selling the rights to my story. In the meantime, I would like to work on a few other films as well.
Limb lengthening surgery is like any other cosmetic procedure, so I don’t pay attention to the negative reactions I get from people around me who still think I was wrong to do this. is something I’ve wanted all my life, and I believe I’ve done it, even if my career in Hollywood didn’t exist.
Correction: November 3, 2022 — An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the year Rich Rotella broke his arm. He broke it in his 2002, not his 1992.
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