New York based foot doctor Dr Oliver Zong has revealed that ‘toe-jobs’ are on the rise. Toe reduction cosmetic surgery is a fairly new phenomenon, but demand for it from US patients has been steadily growing.
"When people first started asking, I said 'What?'" said Zong, who is surgical director at NYC FootCare. "We were mostly doing toe shortenings in the beginning."
The podiatrist told ABC News that he’s labelled the trend "toe-besity” and that ten years ago nobody would’ve asked for such a procedure.
Toe reduction surgery involves shaving off fat and bone from larger toes.
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A patient of Dr Zong’s, who wished to remain anonymous, said his large toe made him feel embarrassed for years. He paid $2,500 (£1,619) to have toe reduction surgery.
"I always had issues with it," he said.
"It was one of those things that you're just not comfortable with and [you] try to hide it."
Other than some minor swelling, he says he feels great and is happy with the results.
"I already see improvement, and I feel so much more confident now," he added.
Other podiatrists are not as supportive as Dr Zong.
"I don't think it's ethical unless you're in pain," said Dr. Hillary Brenner, a podiatric surgeon in New York and a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association.
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"You're undergoing risks - there's the risk of anesthesia, infection, deformity of the toe if the surgery is not done right, a risk of reoccurrence and the risk of surgery in general. It's trauma to the foot,” she added.
Dr. Brenner said she’s had many women coming in to her asking for cosmetic surgery on their toes. Some want to have their little toes removed so they can fit into smaller shoes. But she always turns them down.
"Why fix something that's not broken?" she said.
The American Podiatric Medical Association says that foot surgery is normally performed for medical reasons.
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"Surgical procedures of the foot and ankle are generally performed for relief of pain, restoration of function, and reconstruction of deformities,” the association said in a statement.
“[The surgery] may have the additional benefit of improved appearance.”
For now, the anonymous patient who opted for toe reduction surgery at Dr. Zong’s clinic says he can’t wait to show off his new feet.
"My goal is to wear flip-flops," he said.