A bunion (medically called Hallux Valgus) is a bone deformity in the base of the first finger of the foot or 1st metatarsal (please click the link for more information on feet surgery). Many people develop bunions through their lives due to the excessive use of certain type of shoes (like pointed or very tight shoes, high heels), genetic reasons, among others.
In fact, according to a study called “Prevalence of hallux valgus in the general population and to Doctor Incrams: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, approximately 23% of people between 18 and 65 years old and 35,7% of individuals older than 65 years of age, have a bunion. This problem is usually more common among women, which can be explained by the type of sneakers they wear.
In many cases, using shoes that fit well, adding pads to the shoes, and taking particular painkillers (some may recommend prolotherapy treatments) can help to relieve the pain. However, in other cases, the patient still feels pain after all these measures, so the doctor can recommend correcting the bunion through surgery.
WHAT IS A BUNION SURGERY?
A bunion medical procedures, or bunionectomy, can be defined as the surgical procedure performed to correct the deformity in the head of the first metatarsal. This procedure is reserved for those patients that don't feel discomfort relief with traditional and non-surgical treatments. This is easily followed-up by your orthopedic surgeon after a bunion's surgery orthopedic consultation.
The surgeon must choose among different types of surgeries to correct the bunion in the best possible way. According to the patient's conditions, the surgeon may need to correct the bone alignment and damages in the ligaments, tendons (nothing to do with Achille tendon rupture) and even some nerves.
Is bunion surgery procedure for me?
A bunion surgery is usually recommended for those individuals who can't delay the bunion progression or can't relieve the pain with traditional remedies. In fact, surgeons usually reserve the surgery for sufferers who have severe discomfort that limits their everyday activities (like walking) actually in athletic or anatomical sneakers, chronic inflammation and swelling in the big toe, inability to move the big feet and persistence of the pain after taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The patient must understand that this is not a cosmetic procedure but a medical one.
HOW IS A BUNION Surgery treatment PERFORMED?
Relating to Orthoinfo, during a bunion surgery, the surgeon starts with a small incision in the side or top of the initial metatarsal to, in the first place, realign the articulation and right any deformity in the bone tissue, which is the main problem of the Hallux Valgus.
The specific method will depend on the type and size of the bunion, but in most cases, the surgeon must also repair the soft tissues around the bone. For example, the doctor can use some wires, screws or plates to reshape the connection and after that, he/she makes some stitches in any damaged ligament or muscle to bring even more support to the new articulation shape.
Unlike new techniques in orthopedics such as stem cells, bunion surgery is one of the most common orthopedic procedure performed by surgeons.
HOW LONG DOES A BUNION Operation LAST?
The surgical time of a bunion medical procedures depends on the degree of misalignment in the metatarsophalangeal joint and the presence of problems in the surrounding soft tissues. Every bunion surgery is different, therefore only a qualified cosmetic surgeon can approximately determine the surgical time that it will take and there is usually no reason to become concerned if the surgery is usually acquiring more period than expected.
Nevertheless, a bunion surgery may take between 30 and 45 minutes average to be completed. But, if prior preparation and recovery process are included the medical procedures generally lasts 90 moments.
HOW TO TAKE PROPER CARE AFTER A BUNION procedure?
The proper care after a bunion surgery can vary among patients according to the need of bone healing or not, and the changes that the surgeon had to perform during the process.
When the patient requires bone healing, as in most cases, the bone may need around 6 weeks to heal, also a little longer sometimes. However, experts say that the full recovery after a bunion surgery can require up to 6 months.
Experts usually recommend using a post-op or bunion shoe for one week after the treatment, but in the more complicated instances, the physician may recommend using this special footwear for 5 weeks or using crutches to walk.
Likewise, some patients are allowed to walk immediately after the medical procedures, while others must wait for a short period of time before applying weight about the foot.
HOW LONG SHOULD I BE OFF WORK AFTER A BUNION Procedure?
As for any foot surgery, bunion surgery needs some time after surgery, rehabilitation period but with a short length of stay in the hospital. The time that a patient should be off work after a bunion surgery will vary based on the type of surgery that was performed and the kind of work that the patient has. For example, patients that must end up being 8 hours or even more on their feet, may want to consider more time than people who work in a sitting position.
HOW MUCH Will A BUNION SURGERY COST?
A bunion surgery is generally an easy surgical method; however, the cost will rely on the difficulty to perform the procedure, the need for subsequent treatments, the patient's general health condition, the x-ray for the bunion before and after among others.