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Are you dealing with the continuous, throbbing discomfort of bunions and wondering if there is a solution? "Is bunion surgery worth it?" you may wonder as you weigh the dangers and healing time.

However, if non-surgical treatments do not provide relief, or if your bunion causes substantial pain that interferes with everyday activities, bunion surgery may be your last and best option.

Types of Bunion Surgery and Their Benefits

Bunion surgery techniques range from classic to minimally invasive.

Understanding the differences between these surgical approaches will allow you to decide which type of bunion surgery is best for you.

Traditional bunion surgery

Traditional bunion surgery usually involves:

  • Exostectomy is the removal of the bony protrusion associated with a bunion.

  • Osteotomy: cutting and moving the top part of the bone to relieve bunion discomfort.

  • Realignment of bones, tendons, ligaments, or joint surfaces when needed.

Traditional bunion surgery may require a longer recovery time than minimally invasive methods, with complete recovery taking up to a year.

Minimally invasive bunion surgery

Minimally invasive bunion surgery, also known as bunion ectomy, is a relatively new method in which fewer incisions and specialized devices are used to realign the bones. Because of the little incisions, this approach, also known as bunion removal surgery, causes less pain, a faster recovery, and better cosmetic results.

Be aware that minimally invasive bunion surgery may not be the best option for severe bunion deformities, despite lower recurrence risk compared to traditional techniques.

Bunion Surgery Recovery and Outcomes

The recovery period after bunion surgery varies based on the type of surgery performed, but most patients see significant improvement in pain and mobility.

Recovery timeline

The recovery time for bunion surgery can range between six weeks and six months, with complete healing taking up to a year. Factors influencing the recovery timeline following bunion surgery include:

  • Lifestyle

  • Age

  • Adherence to post-surgery instructions

  • Bunion severity

  • Surgical technique

Some common milestones during recovery include:

  • Swelling persisting for up to nine months

  • Resuming activities after approximately three months

  • Initial healing of the surgical incision within approximately six weeks

Success rates and patient satisfaction

Bunion surgery has a high success rate, with about 90-95% of patients reporting excellent results. Most patients experience long-term pain alleviation and increased quality of life, with 92.8% indicating improved overall health.

However, it is crucial to note that there is a small risk of nonunion or recurrence of the bunion, with studies indicating a recurrence rate of about 20% during a patient's lifetime. So, is bunion surgery worthwhile? Given the high success rate and potential for increased quality of life, many patients would agree that the operation is worthwhile.

Potential Risks and Complications of Bunion Surgery

Although bunion surgery can greatly reduce discomfort and improve mobility, patients must be aware of the potential risks and consequences associated with the procedure.

Infection and wound healing

Infections and wound healing difficulties are uncommon consequences of bunion surgery. The methods below can help prevent infection and promote wound healing:

  • Keep the surgery wound clean and dry.

  • Change dressings regularly.

  • Take the pain medication as directed.

  • Maintain a nutritious diet.

  • Apply ice packs.

  • Take the recommended medications.

These precautions can help reduce the likelihood of problems and encourage good healing following bunion surgery.

Your healthcare professional may prescribe antibiotics as a preventative treatment for bacterial infections.

Recurrence and postoperative complications

Bunion recurrence is possible owing to several reasons, including:

  • Inadequate correction at the time of surgery

  • Genetics

  • A lack of adherence to postoperative directions

  • The application of an incorrect bunion procedure

The probability of recurrence has been estimated at 24.86%.

To limit the risk of recurrence, work with an expert surgeon and adhere to all postoperative care instructions, such as wearing suitable footwear, elevating the foot, and scheduling regular follow-up meetings with your healthcare provider.

Conclusion

When choosing bunion surgery, you should examine the intensity of your pain, any mobility limits, the efficacy of conservative therapy, and the skill of your surgeon.

If you are considering bunion removal surgery and don't know where to start, you might look for a professional by searching “bunion surgery near me”.