Bunion surgery is now day surgery, pain is controlled with small incisions and positive long term results.
A bunion is a bony prominence on the inside of the big toe joint. It is actually a change in position of a bone called the first metatarsal and not solely a bone growing out of the foot.
Pain often occurs from shoe pressure although as the bunion increases arthritis often develops and the pain can become deep and aching. Bunions often lead to other problems such as hammertoes, stress fractures, corns and callouses; resulting in shoe wear becoming increasingly problematic as the bunion develops.
The treatment of bunions initially can be conservative, for example with the use of functional orthotics or shoe modification. Orthotics may be attained from a general podiatrist. If conservative treatment fails then surgery should be considered.
Modern bunion surgery has markedly advanced
Bunion surgery in the past has been very painful and often produced poor long term results. Modern surgery aims to control the pain and produce long term positive results. There are only a few procedures that are proven to produce good results. The most appropriate procedure is chosen depending on the size and the type of bunion.
Procedures are carried out in accredited hospitals. Most cases are under general anaesthetic carried out by qualified medical specialist anaesthetist. Usually a day care basis is all that is required as pain is controllable and hospital stay is in most cases unnecessary.
Pre-Op and Post-Op
A small incision is made over the joint and after soft tissue release is carried out, cuts are made in the offending bone and the bone is realigned. This correction is held in place while healing occurs by small pins or screws which sit flush in the bone and do not protrude out of the skin and do not need to be removed.
Following suturing the area is dressed in a compressive bandage. There is no need for a cast with modern surgery. The patient is given a post- op shoe and a small amount of weight bearing is allowed in the first two weeks.
3 Months Post-Op
Stitches are removed at approximately two weeks and a wide deep shoe can be worn at approximately four weeks. More and more walking is allowed over the following weeks. Full return to shoe wear and activity should follow.
It is important to realise complications such as scaring, return to deformity, excess bleeding, infection and DVT are rare however may still occur. This will be discussed in full before any surgery is carried out.