How We Do It!


rtemagicc_bunion_animation3rtemagicc_bunion_animation2_01In general, most individuals having bunion surgery have a procedure similar to that described in these pictures. The procedure essentially shaves down the prominent “bump” and then performs a cut in the bone (metatarsal). This enables a portion of the bone to be shifted back into normal alignment. Once the bone is determined to be in a corrected position, the bone is stabilized with either a pin or two screws to ensure bone stability during the healing process. There is no need to remove these implants with an additional surgery as it is very rare for there to be any implant irritation during or after the healing process.

A plastic surgery type closure is performed to close the skin incision. This includes using absorbable sutures (sutures that don’t need to be removed later) that are buried underneath the skin to yield a minor cosmetic scar during the healing process. Topical anti-scar creams are beneficial in reducing the amount of post-surgical scarring as well. When the surgery is complete, a post-operative nerve block is administered around the surgical site to yield numbness for a painless recovery and return home.


For those individuals who are not a good candidate for the above procedure, the type of procedure and post-operative course may differ. For example, a different type of bone cut (osteotomy) may be more appropriate in pediatric patients, as it is important to take into consideration the child’s growth plates. The osteotomy placement will dictate how the bone (metatarsal) grows after surgery until it reaches maturation. These procedures require the patient to be in a short leg cast for six weeks with crutches while the bone heals. Patients are then transitioned to a walking boot at six weeks and eventually back to a normal shoe.

For the most severe bunion cases, a bone cut may not be enough! Some bunions may progress to the point where a joint fusion (surgery to combine one or more joints together) may be required to obtain adequate alignment and anatomical correction. As these procedures are more involved, a short leg cast is required for six weeks with crutches. For individuals unable to safely use crutches, devices such as a walker, wheelchair, and personal scooter are excellent alternatives to assist patients during the recovery period.


Lasers have become a popular technique among surgeons to minimize surgery and scaring. Unfortunately, there are no added benefits of utilizing lasers technology when performing bunion surgery at this time. Laser surgery is predominately used in soft tissue surgery, whereas bunion surgery requires a considerable amount of work done to the bone. Although lasers are not currently utilized in bunion surgery, a cosmetic approach is still accomplished by minimizing incision length, strategic placement of the incision, plastic surgery style skin closure, and the use of topical scar creams post-operatively.

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