In Hollywood they are known as pillow injections - those dermal fillers designed to plump up the skin. But the procedure of the moment doesn't involve perfecting the pout or smoothing around the peepers.
Instead the well-heeled are padding their feet with Restalyne or Radiesse in an effort to prance in their 4-inch pumps a little longer.
On a recent Thursday morning, AV Westin was drinking coffee and noshing on a muffin in the waiting room of a Beverly Hills cosmetic center called Epione. She is among the women standing tall in her stilettos. "My hiking boots even have heels," says the precocious 20-something sex blogger, whose site is fast becoming a destination on the information super-highway. "I don't walk outside my door without my heels on," she purred.
The leggy brunette, clad in a short tight dress, and a pair of silver Louboutin's, was then ushered into one of the exam rooms.
A few minutes later, donning a white lab coat, Dr. Simon Ourian entered the room. After a warm embrace she blurted out, "My feet tingle when I walk." As she moved her toes back and forth, which were draped in silver, strappy, high-heeled sandals, she described the aches and pains. Peering at her feet it dawned on her. "It's getting to be a problem," she noted without a hint of irony.
"I think you'll see a dramatic difference when you the leave office today," Dr. Ourian assured her while turning to get two syringes filled with Radiesse. "You'll just feel a little pinch," he said calmly as he began injecting the substance into the balls and heels of her feet.
Within 15 minutes, Ms. Flox was back on her feet and sashaying around in her stilettos. "I can't believe it," she raved as a big grin broke out on her face. "It gives the foot some cushion," Dr. Ourian turned to her and said. "Like a pillow."
Later, just down the street another physician described the procedure as a way of putting a Dr. Scholl's pad inside the foot. "When you're wearing thousand dollar shoes you don't want to put a pad inside," said Dr. Stuart Kaplan.
Wearing a pair of medical magnifying glasses, the dermatologist proceeded to pump just under 1 cc of Radiesse into his patient's feet. "It protects the bone in the balls of the feet from hitting the shoe," explained Dr. Kaplan.
When asked about possible side effects he said it was like getting any injectable. "They are always risks but it's not any different than injecting a filler in the face."
The final bill is the same too. The price for the privilege of being able to parade around in a pair of Pradas a few more hours each day is around $1,000. To justify the price Kaplan joked women get to walk around in those expensive shoes longer. "Rather than stand in high-heels for 45-minutes," he said. "Women can stay in their Manolos for five hours."
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