How Lapiplasty Beats Old Forms of Bunion Correction

Oct 7, 2021

Lapiplasty is not the only form of corrective bunion surgery out there. But by today’s standards, it’s arguably one of the very best options for many patients seeking long-term relief from bunion pain and other symptoms.

At Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma, our goals with bunion correction are simple: provide as thorough results as possible with the lowest possible risk of the bunion recurring. Lapiplasty not only fits this bill superbly but does so in a manner that is minimally invasive to the patient and has a faster recovery time than many other common procedures.

Why does Lapiplasty carry so many benefits over older techniques for bunion correction? To better understand these reasons, let’s start by going into more detail on what a Lapiplasty procedure involves.

How Lapiplasty Corrects a Bunion

In a nutshell, a Lapiplasty procedure fully realigns a metatarsal bone that has shifted to cause a bunion. Once that realignment is complete, the unstable joint that allowed for the shifting is fixed into place.

To do this, a special tool repositions the metatarsal and holds it in place. This correction involves horizontal, vertical, and rotational movement (this is very important, as we’ll discuss later!). When the bone is perfectly positioned, a specified guide tool is used to make tiny cuts to prepare for the remainder of the procedure.

A second special tool will then be used to compress the unstable joint and hold it in place. Small but very long-lasting titanium plates are then attached to the joint, using the cuts made earlier. The joint is permanently fixed into place at this point, but it was never really supposed to move as it did in the first place. The immobilized joint should not have any noticeable effect on your ability to move.

While much is being done to manipulate the joint and metatarsal in Lapiplasty, the procedure only requires very small incisions. We can see into the foot for guidance using a fluoroscope, a device that provides us what is essentially a live, x-ray style image to work with. We will use this at several points in the procedure to ensure each step is correctly and fully completed.

How Lapiplasty Excels Over Other Bunion Procedures

Now that you have an overall picture of what happens during Lapiplasty, how does this improve over more traditional procedures for bunion correction? The ways are quite impressive!

Lapiplasty addresses ALL angles of bunion correction

You might expect all bunion correction procedures to provide full realignment of the joint, but that simply isn’t the case.

Many procedures will only shift the metatarsal on an “up-and-down” and “side-to-side” approach. The bone, however, is often also rotated out of alignment, but this is not addressed. Some procedures will even cut or shave metatarsals to make them fit a general shape and placement without providing much in actual realignment.

Lapiplasty provides full, “3-D” realignment of the big toe joint. Why does that matter? Because it is a complete solution that provides a more natural structure for the foot – not a workaround like other procedures.

Lapiplasty has a shorter overall recovery time

Since Lapiplasty is minimally invasive (in other words, only requiring small incisions and not a full opening of the area needing correction), recovery tends to be faster and much more comfortable than it is with more invasive methods.

The procedure itself typically takes less than an hour to complete, and no casting will be required either. 

Although different patients may have different needs and recovery times, many can expect to begin bearing weight on their foot again within just a few days (although you will still need the support of a walking boot at this time). Compare that to other procedures where you may need to be fully off your foot for up to 6 weeks!

With Lapiplasty, however, most patients can expect to be back in standard sneakers within 6-8 weeks (compared to 12-16 weeks for other options). No matter what the overall scope of your recovery time is, however, please always make sure to follow post-op instructions as fully as possible and never try to engage in any activity you have not yet been cleared for. Lapiplasty has faster recovery, but that doesn’t make someone invincible!

Lapiplasty makes bunions less likely to return

Wait. Bunions can return?

Yes! Getting rid of a bunion through a corrective procedure does not always guarantee that the joint instability at the root of the problem is gone as well. 

In other words, simply getting rid of a bunion “bump” is not enough for the best results. If the instability remains, there is a chance that the joint can start shifting and a bunion starts forming once more.

But because Lapiplasty provides a more comprehensive realignment and fixation than more traditional procedures, the chances of that instability causing trouble again are much lower. Lapiplasty patients are 12 times less likely to have a bunion return than those who had other forms of correction.

Get the Best in Bunion Correction

Lapiplasty is an excellent bunion correction procedure, and one we are proud to provide as an option to any patients for whom it may provide optimal pain relief and improved mobility.

That said, Lapiplasty may not be the best form of bunion treatment for everyone. Some may have needs that are better addressed by a different procedure. Others might not require surgical correction at all and can effectively manage their bunion systems via more conservative treatments instead.

Whatever your best route to bunion relief is, we are here to help you find it. No matter how long you have had a bunion or how severe it may be, it’s well worth discussing your treatment options with us. There are likely more than you think!

Schedule an appointment by giving us a call or by filling out our online contact form. We’ll be happy to see you.

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Oklahoma City Office:
609 W Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

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