Growth attenuation

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Growth attenuation is an elective medical treatment which involves administering estrogen to cause closure of the epiphyses of the bones (Epiphyseal plates), resulting in a reduced adult height. Since the 1960s this treatment has been performed primarily on children growing toward an adult height considered unacceptably excessive by their parents and doctors. The cultural consensus of what is considered an excessive height justifying treatment has differed in Europe and North America and has risen over the last 4 decades.[1]

Most of the children treated have been girls, with larger numbers treated in Europe than in North America. The height considered unacceptable by parents and doctors has become substantially taller over the last few decades. Very few boys have ever been treated for excessive tallness in North America, but this also has been done more often in Europe.

More recently, growth attenuation treatment has been in the news as part of the controversial Ashley Treatment administered to a developmentally disabled girl.


  1. ^ Joyce M. Lee and Joel D. Howell.Tall Girls: The Social Shaping of a Medical Therapy Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 160 No. 10, October 2006.