Chandler’s limb lengthening journey: Short in stature, tall in courage

DETROIT, MI. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Achondroplasia is the most common genetic form of dwarfism, affecting one in 20,000 people. Right now, there’s no cure, but some patients may opt for surgery to lengthen their arms and legs.

Ivanhoe has more on a young woman who has become a champion for others who are short in stature, in the hopes they’ll feel comfortable weighing all their options.

As far back as she can remember, Chandler Crews knew she was the smallest girl in school and dance class.

“It kind of finally clicked at 16. I was like, oh, like, I’m really not growing anymore. This is it.” Crews said.

Full-grown at three feet, ten inches. Born with achondroplasia, Chandler’s size made it tough to drive a car or use a public restroom, “They were kind of like a challenge.”

Plus, a severe bow in her legs started to cause back and hip pain. Chandler decided to undergo limb lengthening.

“She decided that she needed a little more to be able to do the things she needed to do,” Philip K. McClure, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the International Center for Limb Lengthening says of Chandler.

Chandler started documenting her journey. She had one surgery that added four inches to her arms and a new, less-invasive follow-up procedure on her legs that added a total of 13 inches in height.

Crews says, “Today I’m four-eleven.”

But getting here wasn’t easy physically, or emotionally, “Limb lengthening is a controversial treatment in the dwarfism community” Crews explains.

Some are even angry at her for doing it. That’s why she founded The Chandler Project, a non-profit that provides the latest information on medical advances and supports those considering it.

“Chandler has educated a lot of us, even in the world where we do it regularly on what it is that we’re really doing and that’s been amazing,” Dr. McClure said.

“I wanted to show people like, this is really what it’s like going through it.”

For Chandler, it’s about choosing longer limbs, boosting her confidence and her independence.

In addition to founding The Chandler Project, Chandler has been a public speaker at schools, national and international conferences and testified before the food and drug administration about the challenges of living with achondroplasia.


Contributor(s) to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer and Editor.

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