What Are My Bunion Surgery Options?
If you had to guess, off the top of your head, how many different kinds of bunion surgery procedures are currently practiced today throughout the United States, what would you say? Maybe ten? Fifteen?
Would you believe that the number is actually closer to around 100? It’s true!
Why so many? Part of it is simply due to the fact that new surgical methods are always being developed and improved over time. Another part of it is because “the best” choice for a given bunion can vary depending on things like the severity of the bump, your age and health status, the condition of the metatarsal, and many other factors.
The main point we want to get across, though, is that bunion surgery isn’t a “one size fits all” procedure. And if you are considering surgery for your bunion, it is often in your best interest to seek out a podiatric surgeon who specializes in a number of different procedures and has kept up with many of the latest surgical innovations of the last few years.
At Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma, we’re lucky to have not one, but two exceptional bunion surgeons who offer a variety of advanced surgical procedures, including Lapiplasty and miniBunion.
Lapiplasty Bunion Surgery Procedure
Lapiplasty is a unique surgical procedure that uses specialized tools to fully realign the out-of-position metatarsal bone in three dimensions before any bones are cut or fixed.
There are a couple of huge benefits to doing it this way, when compared to more traditional bunion surgeries:
- It allows most patients to begin bearing weight on the foot again very quickly—as early as just a few days in some cases.
- The long-term risk of the bunion recurring after surgery is significantly lower than with standard bunion procedures—up to 12 times lower.
Most bunions are ultimately caused by instability in a normally non-articulating joint in the middle of the foot, at the base of the long metatarsal bone. This causes the metatarsal to not only shift upward and outward, but to rotate as well.
Traditional bunion surgeries generally cut and realign the bones along a 2D plane, but don’t fix the rotational displacement of the metatarsal and don’t stabilize the joint in the midfoot that originally caused the bunion. Lapiplasty does both, making for a more stable and permanent fix.
Check out this page to learn more about Lapiplasty, or watch the video below.
The miniBunion procedure is a minimally invasive technique that may be a great choice if you have a mild to moderate bunion. Advantages of the miniBunion procedure include:
- Significantly reduced post-procedural pain
- Lower infection risk (due to the small incision size)
- Very little noticeable scarring (due to both the small size and inconspicuous placement)
- Fast recovery (Most people are back in normal shoes in just 4-6 weeks)
For this kind of bunion surgery, we only need to make an incision about 1.5 cm in length along the side of the foot—compared to 3-15 cm for more standard open surgeries. From there, the metatarsal is rotated and shifted, and a specially-designed micro-titanium stent is inserted and secured to keep the bone aligned.
Other Bunion Surgery Options
In our experience, the Lapiplasty and miniBunion procedures can cover the vast majority of bunions for the patients we see and are superior to older osteotomy-style bunion surgeries where the metatarsal bones are cut and realigned.
However, there are situations where a different procedure, such as a joint fusion (arthrodesis) may be recommended. If your bunion causes you especially severe arthritis in the big toe joint, you’ve had several failed bunion surgeries in the past, or you are a senior citizen, then removing the damaged joint surfaces at the base of the big toe and fusing the joint may be the most reliable way to take away your bunion pain.
We will be sure to go over all surgical options with you carefully, discuss the pros and cons, and help you make an informed choice.
Do I Even Need Bunion Surgery at All?
Many people mistakenly believe that surgery is the only way to treat a bunion, but that is definitely not the whole truth.
While bunion surgery is the only way to correct a bunion, our goal with any treatment plan is ultimately to make sure you can live the life you want to live, without being held back by daily pain or lack of mobility. This can often be achieved through the use of non-surgical methods like padding, wider shoes, and orthotics.
Another important point to consider—if your bunion is still mild to moderate overall, then conservative treatments are much more likely to be effective. Sometimes, they can even slow the rate at which a bunion progresses, helping you delay the need for surgery indefinitely.
Check out last month’s blog for more in-depth information about non-surgical treatment options for bunions, as well as how we help our patients decide if and when surgery is truly necessary.
Comprehensive Bunion Care in Oklahoma City
Bunions can be a complex and evolving problem. And like just about all complex and evolving problems, you do yourself no favors by waiting until the last minute to do something about them.
The experts at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma are here to ensure you get the absolute best, highest quality, scientifically-based care for your bunion. That means offering effective conservative treatment options, as well as some of the most advanced surgeries for those that need them. And it also means putting your needs first and helping you sort through your options in order to make the best choice for your personal situation.
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