Medical treatments that cross into traditional spa services is not news. We’ve all seen, experienced or read about procedures like micro-dermabrasion, laser hair removal, cellulite remedies and mesotherapy. ‘Google’ the term medi-spa and there are over twenty pages on the phenomenon!
What we haven’t heard much about though, are cosmetic treatments that border on medicinal. We’re talking botox, collagen, mani-pedis; all of which are being sought after not for their beautifying magic, but for legitimate health concerns. At the top of this list is a fairly new procedure called a dermal filler, specific to one area of the body – and it’s not the cheek or the lip; it’s the foot.
Dermal Filler Treatment at TriBeCa MedSpa
Beauty News spoke with one of the leaders and behind this growing trend, and whether it’s something worth jumping into ‘feet first’. We asked Dr. Joseph S. Fox, director of podiatric services at TriBeCa MedSpa, why many New Yorkers are putting collagen into places where no one will ever see it.
BN: Can you tell us where you’ve worked, and a little about your background, Dr. Fox?
Fox: I’m a podiatrist and I’ve been in practice for over 25 years. I’ve been a consultant to TriBeCa MedSpa for a year and a half and have a medical degree and a master’s degree in public health. I practice privately at 33 5th Avenue. I basically consult at TriBeCa and taught the estheticians how to do dermal fillers. We started the process and TriBeCa has become an almost exclusive venue for the procedure.
BN: What is dermal filler all about?
Fox: The premise of dermal fillers is to create a medical treatment for people who have bony feet where there is a lack of a fat pad or cushioning on the bottom of foot. This happens from normal wear and tear when the person gets older, or from exercise and the way the foot is shaped. Sometimes, when a person runs, exercises or wears high heels for a long period of time (or has a tendency to have thinner skin on the bottom of the foot), there’s a lot of pain associated with that; it can be called a dropped metatarsal, which is the ball of the foot. We sometimes use dermal filler for injuries where a bone is not healing well or in sports injuries that involve stress fractures. We sometimes use fillers to help keep pressure off the bone. It’s mainly for women who wear high heels and put a lot of pressure on that metatarsal.
TriBeCa MedSpa, NYC
BN: So what exactly IS the “filler?”
Fox: It can be one of three things, but the most popular is Sculptura™. Sculptura, one of the dermal fillers being used, contains polyactic acid, which is a non-synthetic. It stimulates the body to produce collagen. By producing collagen, you’re increasing the amount of cushioning. The advantage of the Sculptura is that it’s longer lasting than some other ones that have been around for a while, and it carries little risk of allergic reaction – people are very comfortable with it almost immediately.
BN: What happens to me when I go in for the fill?
Fox: The process involves numbing the area of the foot where the injection goes; we do it as a nerve block to avoid feeling in that area. Once that is done you almost instantly get relief from the filler. There’s no danger because it absorbs into the area, and there’s very low risk of allergic reaction. It’s a cosmetic procedure with a medical effect because you’re doing it for comfort and relief of pain.
People are asking for it as a relief of pain rather than putting pads on their feet or using cushions or inserts. It can last anywhere from three months to a year after 1-3 treatments
BN: Just how many wild New Yorkers are really going for this, and why have they decided to take what some might consider an extreme measure?
Fox: It’s very common, we’ve put it out there just recently that TriBeCa does more than just medical pedicures. We’ve added this to the menu and it has gotten a great response. The plastic surgeon there full-time is the one that’s doing it; a lot of times I’m practicing and teaching so my role there is to consult and be available. In my feelings, it’s only given when someone complains of pain.
The three medical procedures we do [at TriBeCa] are the dermal fillers, Botox™ for excessive sweating and a sterile medical pedicure. We’re trying to establish a medical treatment with cosmetic benefits.
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