Houston podiatrist discusses types of bunion surgery

How do you do bunion surgery? And when do you need to do it? I answer these questions differently for each of my patients. You see, some bunions on feet are minor. For these patients, most of the pain comes from the bump on the side of the great toe joint Or from minor bone movement. 

Most of these patients can avoid bunion surgery. But, if you need an operation, your surgery will look different than one for a larger, more painful bunion. Let's take a closer look.

How do you do minor bunion surgery? 

No matter what kind of bunion you have, I'll usually do your bunion surgery as an outpatient procedure. That means you shouldn't have to stay overnight in the hospital. 

With this surgery, you shouldn't need general anesthesia. Instead, I can usually perform bunion surgery using ankle block anesthesia. (That numbs your foot, but allows you to stay awake during the procedure.) In some cases, I might use spinal anesthesia. Or put you under completely. But that's usually avoidable. 

Now, that's how I prepare you for your bunion procedure. But what happens once you're numb? Well, when your bunion is fairly small, and not too painful, bunion surgery is simple. I can just shave your bump during this operation. That will release the soft tissue around your great toe joint. And that should offer pain relief. But most bunions, unfortunately, need a more involved procedure. 

Bunion Surgery with Bone Repositioning

When your bunion is very painful, or quite large, surgical relief becomes more involved. So, how do I do the next stage of bunion surgery? 

In this case, I'll need to reposition your metatarsal bone with a surgical fracture called an osteotomy. (You may also hear this procedure called a bunionectomy.)  During surgery, I carefully create this fracture at the head of the bone. Afterward, I secure the fracture with a surgical pin or screw. And, for most patients, that keeps the bone and joint stable.

How Do you Do Bunion Surgery for a Severe Deformity? foot with bunion

If your bunion deformity is severe, I'll need to perform a more extensive surgery. And it will begin at the base of the metatarsal bone. I may need to remove part of the enlarged bone. Then, I'd need to realign the remaining bone. Finally, I'd correct your tendon and ligament position so you can wear shoes, walk and run without pain. (After your recovery period, of course.) 

Now, if you've developed arthritis in your big toe joint, I may need to take a different surgical approach. In some cases, I'll have to fuse your big toe joint. But that only happens if it's sustained irreparable damage. Rarely, I'd recommend a joint replacement. Again, these will all be case-by-case decisions. 

Bunion Surgery Recovery: What to Expect 

As you can see, I perform many different types of bunion surgery. And that means each patient will experience a different kind of recovery. Basically, your postoperative course depends on the type of surgery you undergo. 

If you have a small bunion and receive a stable procedure? You can often bear weight immediately after surgery. Although you'll still need to wear a surgical shoe or boot. 

Did you have a more severe bunion procedure? Or did I operate on a bunion with arthritic damage? In these cases, you may need to wear a cast after your surgery. And you'll also need to use crutches or a knee scooter for several weeks after this procedure. In other words, if you have more severe your bunion pain or a bigger bump, you'll need a more agressive, less stable intervention. And that will lead to a longer, more disruptive recovery period. 

Bunion Care in Houston, TX

If you think I'm telling you this to scare you, well...you're kind of right. You see, I need you to know that it is vital for you to get your bunion checked as soon as possible. 

After all, ass a bunion progresses, we lose treatment options. So, while I can often manage a small bunion with minimally invasive treatments? Those options grow less suitable as your bunion size increases. Suddenly, the only procedures that are suitable for your condition are far more invasive. 

Now, I know you're wondering what kind of treatment plan you're in for if you already have a bunion. But we just can't tell with an online check-list. Instead, you need to come into the office for a thorough exam. 

There, Houston bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will assess your bunion severity and go over your treatment options are. He will also give you a projected timeline so your bunion does not progress into the "danger zone" of a procedure with a long, difficult recovery. Doesn't that sound better than a major surgery with an extended recovery period? If so, contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists right away. We'll get you scheduled for an appointment to have your bunion evaluated.