Find a Doctor
Rumor Patrol: Plastic Surgery "Trends" for the Feet and Thumbs

Rumor Patrol: Plastic Surgery "Trends" for the Feet and Thumbs


Considering the popularity of cosmetic surgery along with the controversy that has plagued the field, it comes as no surprise that plastic surgery fabrications have become common in blog posts and entertainment news reports. Interested in finding out which stories are fact and which are fallacies? The DocShop Rumor Patrol team is investigating some of the most common allegations to determine which are true and which are false!

Rumor #1: Liposuction of the Foot

Apparently the battle of the bulge is not limited to common problem areas such as the hips, thighs, abdomen, and love handles. In fact, many Americans have expressed an interest in having fat suctioned from their feet and toes in order to have the dainty feet and svelte toes that can easily slip into a pair of size-seven Christian Louboutin slingbacks. But do plastic surgeons really perform this type of procedure?

Expert Opinion:

La Jolla plastic surgeon Scott Miller, M.D., sat down with the DocShop team to provide his expert opinion on foot liposuction.

"Toe or foot liposuction is just not a viable procedure," Dr Miller says, laughing. "That's just a rumor gone out of control."

Dr. Miller went on to explain why cosmetic liposuction of the feet or toes is not considered safe.

"Liposuction really comes down to the anatomy [of the area]. There's the skin, there's the fat, and the muscle, and the bone. So the question is, where is the fat, how does it bulk, what's the anatomy there, can you get at it without disrupting the nerves?"

Rumor Patrol Verdict: FALSE!

"You can't get at the fat of a normal foot or toe without putting the nerves or muscles at risk," Dr. Miller explains.

So, according to Dr. Miller, foot or toe liposuction won't help you smash your feet into a pair of designer heels. Could cosmetic foot or toe surgery be a better sole-slimming solution?

Rumor #2: Cosmetic Toe or Foot Surgery

Toe and foot surgery has traditionally been used to treat foot conditions that cause pain or inhibit function. But men and women who don't like the appearance of their feet have requested that surgeons perform cosmetic foot surgery so they can have narrower feet, shorten or lengthen toes, and even entirely remove the pinky toe. So what's Dr. Miller's take on these rumors?

Expert Opinion:

"Those procedures are pretty significant and pretty involved," Dr. Miller says. "To do them strictly for cosmetic purposes... the first time there was a complication, it'd be awfully hard to explain."

Rumor Patrol Verdict: FALSE!

"I don't believe that [there are] any practitioners who are going to put patients at the risk that would be involved with toe shortening or removal unless there's a problem. While I think this does happen," Dr. Miller admits, "it's done in response to problems, be they bunions or hammer toe."

Rumor #3: Restylane Injections into the Balls of Your Feet

Entertainment news outlets have reported that some of our favorite female celebrities have had Restylane® and other fillers injected into the balls of their feet for awards shows. Why? So stars can gracefully strut the red carpet in four-inch Jimmy Choo stilettos for hours on end - without grimacing in pain.

Expert Opinion:

Dr. Miller says that cosmetic surgery patients can have Restylane® or other fillers injected into the balls of their feet; however, the treatment shouldn't be performed on a regular basis.

"[Celebrities have] done that generally for pretty independent, specific events. In other words," Dr. Miller explains, "the cost and the procedure is such that you wouldn't do it on an everyday basis. But certainly there are people who, for the bigger awards shows, have done that."

Rumor Patrol Verdict: TRUE!

"People have injected fillers into the balls of feet for comfort," Dr. Miller affirms. "To get through the event and soften the blow."

Rumor #4: Thumb Whittling

In the spring of 2007, the North Denver News reported that a Colorado man had his thumb bones whittled down so he could more easily use his iPhone® and other handheld electronic devices. Bloggers immediately responded to the piece, berating the field of plastic surgery and predicting that the practice was now rising to a new "functional" level. The general public soon realized the Denver publication had posted the story as a satirical piece. But still, we wondered: Would a credible doctor be willing to perform this procedure on a patient?

Expert Opinion:

"You always have to subject any sort of thought or procedure, at least I do as a provider, to logic and a sense of reasonableness. What would be involved in that procedure?" Dr. Miller questions aloud. "Like the toe shortening, what would be involved in that procedure would be techniques that would have the potential for infection, for muscle injury, for nerve injury," Dr. Miller concludes. "You would not do them on a normal extremity."

Rumor Patrol Verdict: FALSE!

According to Dr. Miller, thumb whittling procedures are not in our immediate future.

"I think that we're going to have to let Darwinism and natural selection gradually decrease the length of our thumbs if it proves that's a survival advantage," Dr. Miller jokes.

The Rumor Patrol Wrap-Up

Dr. Scott Miller joined the DocShop Rumor Patrol team in busting three plastic surgery rumors and affirming one.

"The aesthetic procedures that catch on are the procedures that either solve a little problem with a little solution or a big problem with a little solution, or even a big problem with a big solution," Dr. Miller says. "But when you're solving little problems with big solutions, people don't get very excited and trends don't catch on."

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.