Bunion surgery: All you need to know

A bunion can be defined as a type of bony bump that develops around the base of the big toe. Once formed, the bunion creates a union with the foot bone known as the first metatarsal. The big toe can point excessively towards the second toe if there is a bunion. A bunion is considered to be a foot deformity that affects both soft tissue and bone, which can cause a lot of pain. Very often, bunions affect people because they have been wearing too narrow or small shoes for a considerable period of time. Usually women run greater risk of developing bunions than men.

Bunions can be removed with the help of a surgical procedure called Bunion Removal. It involves correction of the affected toe and is carried out when the nonsurgical treatment methods are not able to relieve the pain or get the toe back in its normal state. Bunion Removal is also often referred to as a bunionectomy, hallux valgus correction or bunion surgery.

Things to remember before the surgery:

A bunion surgery usually takes about an hour or two depending on the specific nature of the surgery. The surgeon usually administers a regional anesthetic which desensitizes the area of operation prior to surgery. Sometimes a sedative may also be used for the same purpose. The surgeon may also consider the nature of the specific case and may carry out more than a single procedure to correct the affected area.

Different methods of bunion surgery:

There are a number of different methods for carrying out bunion surgery. The specific method that is chosen depends on the specific nature of the case. The surgeon is going to properly inspect the area, take into consideration the preliminary tests and evaluation result and then decide on the type of surgical procedure that is to be carried out.

The various surgical procedures associated with bunion removal are described below.

  • Realignment of soft tissues or ligaments just around big toe joint
  • Removal of a part of metatarsal head in a procedure known as exostectomy or bunionectomy; the metatarsal head is the portion of the foot which bulges out due to the condition
  • Removal of the bone from end of first metatarsal bone that joins with base of big toe or metatarsophalangeal joint; both the metatarsal bones and big toe at metatarsophalangeal joint are reshaped by a procedure called resection arthroplasty
  • Making small incisions or cuts in bones (i.e. osteotomy) and then moving the bones effectively into a healthier position
  • Fusion of joint where metatarsal bone effectively joins mid-foot; a process known as Lapidus procedure
  • Fusion or arthrodesis of big toe joint
  • Implant insertion of a part or whole of the artificial joint

After the bunion surgery:

The patient may take anywhere between six weeks to six months to recover from the surgery, depending on the nature of the procedures involved. The initial stitches are removed about 1 to 3 weeks after the actual surgical procedure.