Cosmetic surgery on feet is on the rise in America according to several reports. This new trend in cosmetic surgery is fueled by people who are embarrassed about how their feet look while they are on the beaches, at swimming pools or even in domestic environment and by women’s increasing desire to wear in-fashion narrow, pointed or high heeled shoes.

For some people, their feet do not look too pleasing due to fat deposits in the toes, toes being crooked or bent as in hammer toes, or due to corns, calluses. According to Dr Oliver Zong of New York, the director of NYC Foot care, all these perceived blemishes can be taken care by such recently termed procedures as “toe tuck” which is shaving down the fifth (pinky) toe, “toe slimming” which slims the toe tips by removing fatty deposits and “toe shortening” which shortens the second toe that is often longer than the big toe.

Dr Zong also talks of “toe facelift” which combines work on two or three areas such as shaving down the pinky, correcting a hammertoe, removal of corns and calluses.

While Dr Zong feels that so long as a procedure is safe for a patient and improves his or her self esteem, there is no harm in doing cosmetic surgery on feet, there are other surgeons who do not support such surgeries.

Dr. Hillary Brenner, a podiatric surgeon in New York says “’I don’t think it’s ethical unless you’re having pain. You’re undergoing risks – there’s the risk of anaesthesia, infection, deformity of the toe if the surgery is not done right, a risk of re-occurrence and the risk of surgery in general. It’s trauma to the foot.

But on the other hand, people particularly women face increasing pressures of popular culture and high fashion allurement to get into slimmer, pointed or high heeled shoes. Many professional women feel that they need these shoes to go with the business attires they are required to put on. Often their feet do not fit into these shoes comfortably and they seek reshaping or shortening of the toes.

Dr. Zong says that “toe tuck’ has become very popular with business women to get into the shoes of their choice comfortably. The procedure takes about a half hour to one hour to perform and costs on an average $ 2000. The patients may walk in and walk out after the procedure wearing bandages and surgical shoes. There would be some post operative pain & swelling and a healing period of a few days to several weeks.

The toe reshaping surgeries are treated as fully elective and the insurance companies do not cover the costs which may be in the range of a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the extent of the surgery.

There are instances when the people approach the surgeons to remove a part or whole of the toe to get into a particular foot wear and the surgeons generally turn them down.

According to  Dr. Leo McCafferty, a Pittsburgh plastic surgeon and vice chair of the Administrative Commission for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), one needs to be very careful with the foot surgery as the foot has the poorest blood supply among all body parts and that is why the toes may have to be amputated in people with diabetes or gangrene for their overall welfare.

He also adds that toes particularly the big toe help provide balance to a person while standing or walking and that while the little toe may be operated on,  amputation of any toe for cosmetic reasons should be avoided at all times.

[Source: This write up is partly sourced from the article “Now there’s surgery for fat feet? The rise of ‘toe-besity’ cosmetic procedures” dated July 20, 2012, Mail Online]