What Is Bunion Surgery?
A bunion can be understood as a bony bump that occurs at the base of the big toe. It develops when the underlying bone moves out of place, causing the big toe to point toward the smaller toes. Unfortunately, this can cause the skin covering the toe to become sore.
A bunion might develop if you wear tight shoes or as a result of arthritis or foot deformity. If you already have bunions, wearing tight shoes might make them worse.
The good news is that bunions can be treated through bunion surgery. Here is everything you need to know about bunion surgery.
What Is Bunion Surgery?
Bunion surgery is a surgical procedure performed to correct deformity and reduce pain caused by a bunion. The procedure seeks to straighten your big toes by surgically removing the swollen tissue, removing part of the affected bone, realigning the affected bone, or even joining the affected bones permanently.
However, it is important to note that bunion surgery is not recommended for cosmetic purposes. Therefore, if your bunions do not cause you significant pain or discomfort, you do not need to seek bunion surgery.
What Bunion Surgery Involves
Bunion surgery is usually performed under ankle block or general anesthesia. This is meant to ensure that you will not feel any pain during the procedure. Your surgeon will advise you on the right anesthesia for you.
Once the anesthesia medication has been administered, your surgeon will make an incision along the joint of the big toe. The surgeon will then remove the swollen soft tissue and part of the affected bone. The ligaments or tendons around the affected toe will also be realigned. Using screws, wires, and metal plates, your surgeon will set the affected toe in place. Finally, the incision will be closed with stitches before getting bandaged. Depending on the severity of your case, you can expect the entire process to take 45 minutes to 3 hours.
Bunion Surgery Recovery
Bunion surgery is an outpatient procedure. This means that you will not need hospitalization after the procedure. However, you may be asked to spend a couple of hours in the recovery room for healthcare professionals to observe you for any complications.
Before leaving the hospital, your surgeon will prescribe the medication you will need to manage pain and prevent possible surgical site infections. You will also be instructed on how you will take care of the surgical site to optimize the healing point
However, it is important to note that you will not be able to drive yourself home, meaning that you will need someone else to drive you. Besides, your movement may be limited for the first two weeks, meaning that you will need someone to help you with basic tasks, such as preparing meals.
Risks of Bunion Surgery
Like any other surgical procedure, bunion surgery is not without risks. Some of the risks associated with the procedure include:
- An adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Poor healing
- Surgical site infection
- Nerve damage, causing numbness
Before you can sign the consent to get bunion surgery, you need to discuss the potential risks with your doctor. The good news is that complications from the procedure are extremely rare, and you are unlikely to experience any serious problems.
Bunion Surgery FAQs
Is Bunion Surgery Painful?
During the procedure, you will not experience any pain since the procedure will be performed under anesthesia. However, during the first few days of recovery, you will obviously experience some painful moments. However, your doctor will prescribe the right pain reliever to make the recovery process as painless as possible. In any case, the pain you might experience during recovery is nothing compared to the discomfort that untreated bunions can cause.
Can Bunions Come Back After Surgery?
Unfortunately, bunions can come back even after bunion surgery. The good news is that in most cases, this can be avoided by simply wearing comfortable shoes. Your doctor might instruct you to use orthotics or arc support to minimize the risk of bunions coming back.
How Much Does Bunion Surgery Cost?
In the US, the cost of bunion surgery ranges between $3,500 and $12,000. However, your medical insurance might cover a part of the cost if performed for health reasons, meaning that the amount you will need to pay from your pocket might be less.
How Long Does Recovery Take After Bunion Surgery?
The recovery time will vary from one case to another depending on factors such as the type of bunion surgery and the patient’s overall health. Although the initial recovery typically takes 6 to 12 weeks, complete healing might take up to 12 months. But 12 weeks after the surgery, you should be able to put some weight on your feet. However, every case is unique, and you need to work with your doctor for you to know what you can do at what stage of the recovery process.