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Bunion Osteotomy

A bunion osteotomy is a surgical procedure that involves cutting and repositioning the bones at the base of the big toe to correct the misalignment and reduce the prominence of a bony bump known as a bunion.

Also known as: bunion osteotomy is also referred to as a bunion removal surgery, a metatarsal osteotomy, or a bunionectomy

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Everything you need to know

Bunions may not necessarily always be seen as a serious ailment, but untreated bunions or severe cases can cause:

  • Foot pain: it might limit normal activities like wearing high heels, walking long distances, or standing on your feet for too long.
  • Chronic big toe inflammation: this may also lead to foot swelling.
  • Toe deformity: in this case, you may find that the big toe drifts towards smaller toes. It’s important to ensure your big toe and other toes are always in a straight position.
  • Toe stiffness: the inability to bend and straighten the big toe.

If you’re looking to prevent bunions, then the best thing expert surgeons recommend is:

  • To avoid tight-fitting shoes
  • Try wearing wide shoes
  • Keep your feet in the correct position
  • Keep your foot elevated

Minimally invasive bunion surgery shouldn’t be carried out for cosmetic reasons. Bunion symptoms can cause a bony lump on the foot and left untreated bunions can cause further joint stiffness and pain.

Before surgery

Before you are recommended a bunion osteotomy, you’ll have an initial consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon. A bunionectomy is typically recommended when a bunion (hallux valgus) becomes painful, causes difficulty in walking, or significantly impairs foot function, and conservative non-surgical treatments have not provided sufficient relief. If your consultant suggests the surgical route, and you have decided to go through with it, you’ll be asked to properly prepare.

Minimally invasive bunion surgery is often a day-case operation. However, if there are any complications, you may be asked to stay in the hospital overnight.

Keep in mind that once you do go home from the procedure, it’s important that you can easily get around without triggering the post-operative pain. That means clearing your home so that there are no obstacles in your way, to ensure you don’t bring on any pain, and you help reduce swelling. Surgery takes a lot out of a person and if you want to ensure the procedure remains a success, you need to follow the post-surgery recovery plan.

Ensure that you have the correct footwear arranged for when you go home. Wearing shoes may be difficult during the initial recovery period.

During surgery

A minimally invasive bunion procedure usually takes up to an hour. However, it depends on:

  • The condition of the second toe
  • The damage done to the soft tissue
  • How much bunion correction is needed
  • The condition of the big toe joint

To begin the minimally invasive keyhole bunion surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision near your big toe joint or second toe; wherever the bunion is most prevalent.

From here, the team will treat bunions by cutting them away and realigning the bones in your big toe, second toe, or foot. Once the foot is straight and the bunion has been removed, the team will secure everything in place.

Bunion correction is a minimally invasive surgery, however, bunions can cause immense pain for people, and alleviating that can change someone’s way of life.

After surgery

Immediately after the minimally invasive bunion surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will remind you of a few key things:

  • Keep your leg raised where possible
  • Keep the small incision scars clean from infection
  • Avoid wearing ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or shoes for some time after the procedure
  • Reach out to your orthopaedic surgeons and the team if there is any pain, the toe joint doesn’t remain in a straight position, or if another bony bump starts to form

At home, you must follow the bunion correction recovery plan. That means resting your foot, being tuned into any bunion pain, or surveying any swelling of the big toe joint.

It’ll take a few weeks before the swelling and pain of your keyhole bunion surgery subside completely. So be patient and don’t rush your desire to recover.

Twelve to nineteen weeks is the usual time when people can expect full recovery from the minimally invasive bunion procedure.


How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.