A Bunion Surgery is performed once a bunion falls into an extent where an individual’s normal gait functioning is already severely affected by the persistent intolerable pain and swelling caused by the misaligned toe.
Why Is There a Need For Bunion Surgery?
This odd deformity or bunion of your big toe, where it twists outward and away from the second toe, is medically referred to as “hallux valgus”. This is a Latin term of “Hallux”, meaning big toe, and “Valgus”, meaning turning outward. Once the big toe, or the first metatarsal, turns outward, its outer skin and tissue stretch to accommodate it, thus the deformity looks like a lump protruding at the side of your toe.
People who never or seldom experience the pain associated with the bunion usually don’t feel the need for a bunion surgery so most doctors suggest an alternative treatment (ie. corrective shoes, foot exercises) to reduce the bunion. However, in an event where these natural measures don’t work, your surgeon may advice surgery as the last resort.
Classifications of Bunion Surgery
Osteotomy. The first metatarsal is generally cut and realigned in this procedure. Your surgeon will be the one to decide how to go through this procedure depending on the status or severity of your bunion.
Resection Arthroplasty. Generally used for patients with arthritis, or easily fragile bone. This type of bunion surgery removes the portion of the join which is damaged or deformed.
Repair of Tendons and Ligaments. A tendon or ligament that is too loose on one side and too tight on the order may be the main source of the deformity. Your surgeon will try to fix the bunion by correcting these problems and promoting balance of the tissues surrounding your big toe.
Exostectomy. With this procedure, the protruding part of the toe is removed. But this is no longer preferred due to its high rate of bunion re-growth.
Arthrodesis. Commonly used for patients with severe bunions and involves the use of screws, wires or plates to realign the bunion and hold them until it heals.
Tightrope Bunionectomy. This procedure is the newest type of bunion surgery and thus, still under experiment and modifications. Tightrope bunion surgery employs a fiber wire that will pull the big toe towards the second toe, reducing the appearance of protrusion at the medial side of your foot. If this is done properly, the results are said to be great since patients no longer need to engage through the long healing process and other uncomfortable rehabilitation processes post operatively.
General Overview of the Bunion Surgery Process
Your surgeon will tell you whether or not bunion surgery is really needed to aid the problems you have with your bunion. Pre-operative measures will include thorough physical assessment, xrays and other diagnostics to identify what type of surgery best suits you.
The operation usually last to around an hour and your anesthesiologist will choose what type of anesthesia to use depending on the results of the physical assessments. In many cases, local anesthesia is used. This means, only the affected foot is sedated and the patient’s consciousness is intact. However, there are times when a general or spinal anesthesia is induced so patient is sleeping throughout the whole process.
Bunion surgery is not considered a major surgery and could be done in an orthopaedic clinic or in an outpatient basis. If possible, patients can be admitted and discharged the same day if the operation went well and no post-operative complications are present.
So far, 80-90% of those who undergone bunion surgery shows agreeable results. Recurrence of the bunion is the major complaint of those who had surgery but didn’t go well. It is wise to discuss all pros and cons with your orthopaedic surgeon before deciding to go on with the bunion surgery.