Just when you thought no body part had gone untweaked, along comes "toe-besity."
Cosmetic surgery for feet isn't new, but in the past it was primarily performed to relieve pain, with bunionectomies being one of the most common types. Now, some people are apparently so obsessed with how their toes look that they are willing to pay up to $3,000 to alter their shapes.
Some want their lower digits slimmed, feeling that they resemble little piggies that went to market and had too much roast beef. Others want to shorten second toes that are longer than their big toes, which involves sawing off the bone and replacing it with a titanium rod. Still others want a procedure that will make it easier to wear narrow-toed shoes -- the "pinky tuck" -- or high heels, for which the doctor takes fat from the belly and injects it into the balls of the foot, creating extra padding.
Dr. Ralph Bashioum, a Wayzata cosmetic surgeon who has been practicing for more than 30 years, hasn't heard of an uptick in such requests in the Twin Cities, but said that "people can be sensitive about any aspect of their appearance. It can happen with all parts of the body, and they will seek out offers to change what they're sensitive about."
This is the time of year we hear more talk of cosmetic toe surgery, he said, not because it's sandal season, but because "surgeons' practices are slow right now."
There can be risks people might not realize involved with foot surgery, he added: In addition to potential deformity, "scar tissue or the weakening of a part of the foot can really affect a person's balance."
Now that cosmetic surgery has literally run the gamut from head to toe, is there any uncharted anatomical territory left for the dissatisfied to artificially alter?
"Probably not," Bashioum said.