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Plastic Surgery Goes To the Dogs and the Designer Pinky Toe

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I guess I’m not the plastic surgery guru I thought I was. Until recently a relatively new industry phenomenon had escaped my radar: plastic surgery has gone to the dogs.

“Dogs” as in “feet,” that is. Seems nowadays women are heading to orthopedic surgeons and podiatrists for procedures other than corrective surgery for bunions, corns and hammertoes. Cosmetic surgery for the feet is becoming more and more popular, particularly in Manhattan where Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks rule the sidewalk.

I kid you not. Women are opting for shortening toes to fit more comfortably into stiletto heels or even to create the ever popular “toe cleavage.” Another option is what one New York surgeon calls the “pinky tuck” – particularly popular with those for whom strappy sandals are a summertime “must.” In a piece on his Web site, this physician, who promotes the “designer pinky toe,” says:

“What you wear on your feet is often just as important as what your feet look like. If your pinky toe says ‘no’ … say ‘yes’ to the toe tuck.”

One problem. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) advises against cosmetic foot surgery. The AOFAS recommends surgery only to correct a functional problem or to alleviate pain. In fact, over half the Society’s members who responded to a recent survey noted they had treated patients with foot issues resulting from a cosmetic procedure.

According to various AOFAS spokespeople, the risks of infection, chronic pain, nerve injury and so on are high when it comes to foot surgery. These risks outweigh the benefits of cosmetic foot surgery. Not only that, but even when surgical goals include reducing pain, they should not include getting the patient back into the type of shoes that contributed to the problem in the first place.

As one surgeon observed, the right move is to find shoes to fit the feet, not modify the feet to fit the shoes.

Whew. I feel better now that I’ve caught up with this little corner of the world of cosmetic surgery. Although given the bizarre extremes people seem to be willing to consider these days, I worry about the title of this article. Plastic surgery for dogs?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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