Bunion – What is it?
A bunion, also know as a ‘Hallux valgus deformity’, is a painful deformity that occurs at the base of the big toe (the 1st MTP joint). A complex mechanism results in a painful prominence forming on the inside of the great toe, and the toe itself begins to migrate towards the 2nd toe.
Normally the big toe should point forwards. When a bunion develops, the big toe drifts towards the lesser toes. When present, bunions commonly occur in both feet.
Keyhole Vs Traditional bunion surgery
Traditional bunion surgery
This involves making a long incision along the inside of the great toe. Through this open approach, the bones of the great toe (metatarsal +/- proximal phalanx) are cut and repositioned. An additional 3cm incision is often required along the top of the foot to release tight soft tissues.
Keyhole Bunion Surgery
In contrast, ‘Keyhole’ bunion surgery is a minimally invasive technique that has recently been developed in Europe to minimise soft tissue damage and scarring during the procedure. Frequently, this technique does not require any sutures, and scarring is minimal.
Keyhole bunion surgery – How is this done?
This technique uses advanced equipment that has been specifically designed to allow for the correction of bunion deformity via this keyhole technique. A specialised ‘Burr’ machine is used to correct the alignment of the big toe. This is done under xray guidance. Specialised small screws are used to secure the newly aligned toe into position. These screws are designed to remain inside the bone, and do not require removal in the future. The use of ‘oblique headless’ screws is a specific design,so that the screw heads are not palpable.
This entire procedure is performed by making 5 tiny 2-3mm incisions on the foot.
Following the procedure, a detailed dressing is applied to your foot.
Keyhole Bunion Surgery – Pain relief and Recovery
Dr. Mike Smith takes pain relief very seriously. In combination with his regular Anaesthetists, a tailored analgesic plan will be created. This typically involves the use of a local anaesthetic block prior to the procedure. This ensures that you are as comfortable as possible following the procedure.
With the use of this keyhole technique, patients undergoing this procedure frequently are able to go home the same day.
Patients are able to begin immediate weight bearing following the procedure. A specialised postoperative shoe is provided for the first 2-3 weeks.
The use of crutches or a frame, may be required during the initial postoperative period. To minimise swelling, leg elevation during the recovery phase is recommended.
Return to work depends upon the level of activity required in your occupation. Work that allows you to be seated for the majority of the time, will require a period of 2-3 weeks of leave. Depending on the nature of more physical work, further time off will be needed.