Bunion Surgery

 
(215) 927-2837

A bunion is a painful foot deformity caused by enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunions often require surgical intervention to reduce pain, improve mobility of the toe, and correct related foot deformities.

There are countless variations of bunion surgery. In general, bunion surgery involves the removal or realignment of soft tissue and bone near the toe joint. If the joint is severely deformed, it can be stabilized with wires, stitches, screws, or plates.

 
 Before and After Photos of Bunion Surgery                           
 

 
Before   After
   
 
 Before  After

Reasons for treatment

Studies have shown that the majority of people who have undergone bunion surgery are satisfied with their results. However, there is no guarantee that bunion surgery will completely relieve pain.

Surgery should only be a consideration if conservative treatment fails. The following is a list of reasons that people choose to undergo bunion surgery: 

  • To address chronic toe inflammation and swelling. 
  • To address toe deformities, like a drifting of the big toe toward the inside toes.
  • To improve the mobility of stiff toe joints. 
  • To relieve severe foot pain that interferes with everyday activities.

If anti-inflammatory medications fail to reduce the pain associated with a bunion and the deformity begins to affect daily activities, bunion surgery is the next logical treatment.

How bunion surgery is performed

There are more than 100 different types of surgery that can be used to treat bunions. It is also common for surgeons to combine multiple procedures in order to treat the additional foot deformities that occur alongside bunions. Bunion surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgery usually lasts up to an hour; the length of the procedure depends on the complexity of the deformity. Surgery begins with an incision on the top of the big toe joint. The procedure may include any of the following:

  • Cutting through and moving the end of the metatarsal bone, and using a screw or plate to hold it securely.
  • Fusion of the joint between the metatarsal bone and midfoot. 
  • Insertion of an artificial joint. 
  • Insertion of wires, screws, or plates to stabilize the joint. 
  • Realignment of soft tissue near the joint. 
  • Removal of part of the bone from the metatarsal  or toe. 

The length of recovery time following bunion surgery depends on the amount of tissue and bone affected. You may or may not have to use crutches. The main portion of the healing takes place in the first 6 weeks or less.  Complete recovery can take a year.

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