Bunionectomy: All you need to know about it


A bunion is caused due to the abnormal enlargement of the base joint in the big toe. This causes the base of the big toe to swell and become inflamed along with disabling you to walk and stand normally. A bunionectomy is a useful procedure that involves removing the bunion and realigning the soft tissue and bone around the big toe. This helps to relieve pain and bring back the normal strength and range of movement into the big toe.

Need for Bunionectomy

You may need to undergo a bunionectomy when:
  • Other (non-surgical) treatment methods have failed to address the problem successfully
  • You are facing disability in performing everyday activities such as walking and standing

Purpose of Bunionectomy

The main purpose of a bunionectomy procedure is to address the problem when other conservative means to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful. As the big toe gets constantly pushed sideways due to the bunion at its base it may eventually cause the next toe to become bent and the foot to get deformed further.

Bunionectomy procedure

Earlier, the bunionectomy procedure used to be performed using conventional open-type surgical methods. However, with recent advances in surgical science doctors now use the minimally invasive (arthroscopic) method to perform this surgical procedure. The main aim of the bunionectomy procedure is to remove the bulging portion of the metatarsal head of the big toe. This is achieved by administering local anesthesia and making small incisions around the affected big toe. The surgeon will use the thin and flexible arthroscope to be inserted into one of the incisions and gain a clear view of the severity of the bunion. The surgeon will use similar surgical tubes (arthroscope) attached with tiny surgical instruments to cut and remove the metatarsal bone of the affected big toe. 

Possible risks with Bunionectomy

As is seen in any surgical procedure the bunionectomy procedure also involves the chances of rare risks developing in some cases, such as:
  • Infection in soft tissue/bone of foot
  • Anesthetic allergies
  • Bunion recurrence
  • Outward/upward bend of big toe
  • Numbness/tingling sensation in big toe from nerve damage
  • Tendon damage
  • Shortened big toe bone
  • Development of callus in the sole of the foot 

Important things to know about Bunionectomy

Here are a few points that you might need to be aware of, and consider, before deciding to undergo a bunionectomy:
  • Recurrence of bunion may be seen after surgery in case you don’t take the required precautions
  • The severity of the bunion decided the type of surgery required for its treatment
  • Surgery may decrease the flexibility of the big toe and cause the range of motion to be restricted
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