Entries in toes (3)


Surgery for Fat Toes on the Rise

E.R. recently went in for surgery to reshape his big toe. (Courtesy Dr. Oliver Zong)(NEW YORK) -- When patients seek out cosmetic surgery from New York-based Dr. Oliver Zong, they're often looking to remove fat, but not from their bellies or thighs.

Zong is a podiatrist, and one of his specialties is slimming down people's fat toes -- "toe-besity," he calls it. He's been in practice for about a decade, and when he started, toe reshaping was unheard of.

"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."

Now, he said, more and more people are zoning in on the smaller details of their feet, like the width of their toes.

For many patients, an odd-looking toe is a source of great embarrassment.

E.R., a patient of Zong's, said he hid his fat right big toe for years.

"I always had issues with it," said E.R., who asked to remain anonymous. "It was one of those things that you're just not comfortable with and try to hide it."

On top of being unattractive, the toe also caused discomfort.

"The bone was pushing the nail up, and the nail curved up a little bit, so it was hitting the shoe," he said.

Three weeks ago, the 37-year-old New Yorker had surgery to shave off some fat and bone. His second toe was also a hammertoe, so Zong shaved down the bone of that toe as well.

There's still a lot of swelling, but E.R. said he already feels better about his foot.

"I already see improvement, and I feel so much more confident now," he said.

This type of surgery is considered entirely elective, so insurance companies will not cover the costs, which can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on how complicated the procedure is.

E.R.'s cost $2,500, but Zong said most of the surgeries are not as complex as his was.

Other podiatrists, however, do not support the idea of cosmetic foot surgery.

"I don't think it's ethical unless you're having pain," said Dr. Hillary Brenner, a podiatric surgeon in New York and a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association.

"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," Brenner said. "It's trauma to the foot."

The American Podiatric Medical Association says that foot surgery is typically performed for medical reasons.

"Surgical procedures of the foot and ankle are generally performed for relief of pain, restoration of function, and reconstruction of deformities. They may have the additional benefit of improved appearance," the association said in a statement.

Brenner said a number of patients -- mostly women -- have come to her requesting cosmetic surgery. Several women hoped to have their pinky toes removed in order to fit into smaller shoes. She always turns them down, however.

"Why fix something that's not broken?" she said.

But Zong doesn't see the harm in performing cosmetic procedures, as long as they are safe and as long as there is something to fix cosmetically.

"I think it's the same as if you would ask for any kind of cosmetic surgery," he said. "They're very embarrassed by the situation and afterward, they gain self-esteem and feel more confident. Some people have said they're so embarrassed that their boyfriends have never seen their feet."

As soon as the swelling is gone and his toe is healed, E.R. said he isn't going to hide his feet anymore. He plans to ditch his sneakers for a more summer-friendly option.

"My goal is to wear flip-flops," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Colorado Logger Pinned by Trailer Amputates Own Toes

BananaStock/Thinkstock(MONTROSE, Colo.) -- A 61-year-old Colorado logger who found himself trapped beneath a trailer that pinned his right foot, did the unthinkable: he amputated three of his toes to free himself.

Jon Hutt had driven his logging truck into a remote part of western Colorado near the town of Montrose on Aug. 19.  He was attempting to retrieve a pile of fallen Aspen trees to cut up for winter firewood when something went terribly wrong.  Six tons of machinery fell off of the truck and pinned him.

"The trailer started to slide.  It pinned my right foot right in there," Hutt told ABC News as he pointed to his foot with a crutch.  "When I tried to move it, the pain would get worse."

Hutt was trapped, completely alone, and in unimaginable pain.  With no cellphone service nor help, and after 30 minutes with no other choice, Hutt took out his three-inch pocketknife and began amputating his toes.

Hutt later drove to a parking lot by the nearby Ridgway Dam, where an ambulance arrived to take him to Montrose Memorial Hospital, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.

Hutt is hardly the first person to resort to self-amputation when facing their own mortality.  Last summer Jonathan Metz was in his Connecticut basement when his left arm became stuck behind a furnace he was repairing.

After being trapped for 12 hours, Metz, 31, said that it became clear what he needed to do once he could smell the flesh of his crushed arm beginning to rot: he amputated his arm with the blade of a power saw.

Doctors said that the decisions that Metz made, particularly to cut away at the dead tissue which released toxins that were circulating through his body, are what ultimately saved his life.

And who could forget Aron Ralston?  His amputation of his own arm inside a desolate Utah canyon was the inspiration for Danny Boyle's 2010 Oscar-nominated film 127 Hours starring James Franco. While mountaineering in Blue John Canyon, Utah, Ralston became trapped when a boulder dislodged and pinned him next to a canyon wall.  After being trapped for six days, Ralston finally cut off his right arm to free himself -- an ordeal that took an hour and was performed with his two-inch knife.

As for Hutt, it has now been two weeks since he amputated his own toes, and he says he is still in pain.  But he does offer advice for those who find themselves in similarly horrific situations.

"I think it's real important to keep your head and not just panic and start screaming," he said.  "That ain't going to do you any good, you need to start figuring the way to get out of the situation like that.  And do whatever it takes to do it."

The police retrieved his severed toes but unfortunately doctors were not able to save them, as they were far too mangled to be reattached.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Plastic Surgery: Are Toes The New Nose?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For a growing number of women who want to strut their stuff in high heels, the latest footwear fashion accessories are surgical saws, titanium rods and liposuction needles.

Toe shortening and fat injections into the foot pad are among the popular procedures in a new plastic surgery craze focused on feet. Paying up to $3,000 per procedure, more and more women are surgically transforming themselves into Cinderella from the ankle down. Helping women squeeze into high heels -- and curing the damage they cause -- is a $45 million-a-year business.

"All the girls are wearing cute high heels, open toes and they look pretty, and me -- I have to wear always closed shoes because I feel like they're staring at my long toe," Audy, who asked to be identified by first name only, told ABC News. She was awaiting cosmetic surgery to make her second toe shorter than her big toe.

Podiatrist Ali Sadrieh in Beverly Hills, Calif., performs the toe shortening procedure, which involves actually dislocating the toe and sawing out a two-millimeter chunk of bone. He then inserts a titanium rod to bring the shortened bone back together.

Another procedure gaining traction in the world of foot facelifts plumps up the bottom of the foot to make high heel wearing more comfortable, like permanently installing a Dr. Scholl's pad. It involves liposuctioning fat from a patient's belly and injecting it into the balls of the feet.

And then there is the ever popular pinky toe tuck, in which fat is taken out of the little toe to make it narrower.

While cosmetic surgery on the feet is trending high with women as a permanent solution for their footwear crises, it is largely frowned upon by The American Podiatric Medical Association and officially opposed by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society because of risks and complications of the operation. Potential problems include permanent nerve damage, infection, scarring, a recurrence of the deformity that was supposedly fixed and chronic pain when wearing not just high heels, but all shoes, according to the AOFAS. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio