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Bunion Repair

Alternate Names

  • hallux valgus correction
  • bunionectomy
  • Bunions

Definition

A bunion repair is a surgical procedure performed on the great toe joint. The purpose is to correct a deformity of the great toe by removing a painful bump, called a bunion, at its base.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

This procedure can be done for anyone who has a painful bunion that has not responded to other treatments. These other treatments include:
  • padding
  • altering the shape of the shoe to take pressure off the area
  • prescription foot orthotics, which are special shoe inserts

How is the procedure performed?

The procedure can be performed in the healthcare professional's office, in an outpatient surgical center, or in the hospital. Usually it is done either by an orthopedic (bone) surgeon, or by a podiatrist, a healthcare professional specially trained in the care of the feet.
Bunionectomy can be done under general anesthesia or local anesthesia, with or without sedation. The procedure involves making an incision into the skin and carefully working down to the level of the great toe joint and bone. The bony prominence is removed using a bone saw.
The soft tissue structures around the joint are then modified. The bones in the great toe and the bone just behind it, called the first metatarsal, are then cut with a bone saw and corrections are made to them. These corrections may be kept in place with stainless steel wires, screws, or plates.
After the surgery, the person usually wears a special shoe, cast, or splint to keep the area stable. Swelling is controlled by elevating the foot to the level of the heart, and using ice behind the knee or around the ankle. Rest is extremely important. If needed, anti-inflammatory medications can be prescribed. A bunion repair is usually not too painful. Most people can control their pain with the medications prescribed by the surgeon.

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