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Cardiff Centre of Excellence for Orthopaedic Care

Clinical Excellence | Education | Research

Bunion surgery

  • Our specialist foot and ankle surgeons in Spire Cardiff Hospital’s Centre of Excellence for orthopeadic care offer an entire range of treatments to get you back on your feet quickly, comfortably and safely.  

    Bunion surgery is one element of this service. This is a well-established operation that offers patients a treatment option for painful bunions. At Spire Cardiff Hospital we offer patients the choice of the more established and researched ‘open’ bunion procedure or that of the newer minimally invasive technique. The choice of which procedure to choose will be a discussion for you and your consultant.

    At Spire Cardiff hospital we have a number of well-established foot and ankle surgeons Mr Declan O’Doherty, Mr Anthony Perera and Mr Paul Hodgson.

    To ensure you are fully informed prior to your consultation you may wish to review the consultant profile and the information on both the open and MIS bunion procedures procedure.


    What is a bunion?

    A bunion (also called Hallux Valgus) is a painful swelling caused by deformity of the big toe. As this swelling is caused by a bone it can be very unforgiving in shoes, which can rub on it causing pain, particularly formal foot shoes or high heels.

    Arthritis, or wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes over a period of many years, may increase the risk of bunions. However, they can have other causes. Bunions are more common in women and sometimes run in families.


    What treatments are available for bunions?

    Fortunately, many bunions never go on to cause problems other than the cosmetic appearance. The easiest option is to try different shoes or padding, however this is not the answer for everyone. The various straps and braces that are commercially available are not proven to be particularly effective.

    Surgery can be a very successful treatment for bunions and could be considered if you are having pain that is affecting your function on a regular basis, for instance, pain during sports or wearing work shoes. It is important, however, that you are seen by a consultant orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon who has undergone specialist training with a foot and ankle fellowship. There are many different surgical techniques and it is important that your surgeon is expert in several of these so that you have the one that is best for your unique deformity. 

    Bunion removal is usually done under general anesthesia. This means you will be asleep throughout the procedure.

    The operation can be performed as a day-case, but an overnight stay in hospital is sometimes required. Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of having bunion surgery, and will also discuss the alternatives treatments.

    For further information or to arrange an appointment with one of our foot and ankle surgeons call us on 029 2073 1112.

    About bunion surgery

    All our highly skilled foot and ankle surgeons within the Orthopedic Centre of Excellence offer this well established surgical procedure.

    Your surgeon will make an incision 3-5cm in the top or side of the big toe joint. The exact procedure will vary depending on the type and size of the bunion being treated.

    Your surgeon may cut through the joint, remove a small piece of bone and re-align the toe. The joint may be stabilised using screws or tiny wires to keep it in place.

    At the end of the operation, the incision will be closed with stitches and your foot will be bandaged or placed in a plaster cast. The operation usually lasts about an hour and a half.

    A physiotherapist will visit you after your operation and give you some advice about how to move around safely with your dressing or cast. Our patients at Spire Cardiff Hospital usually commence mobilisation in a protective shoe immediately after surgery. With the aim to have you back in flat shoes within 6 weeks, and in heels and returning to sport over the next couple of months

    Bunion removal is a commonly performed and generally safe operation. For most people, the benefits in terms of improved symptoms are much greater than the disadvantages. However, all surgery carries an element of risk.

    Complications specific to bunion removal include:

    • the tendons in your big toe can be damaged during surgery and this can affect how well your toe moves afterwards
    • the nerves in the toe can also be injured and you may find your toe is numb in places
    • occasionally, the pain and swelling may be persistent, lasting for a few weeks, or some cases for longer. Some people develop a callus (a hardened area of skin) on the bottom of their foot

    It's also important to know that although your surgeon will be experienced at this type of surgery, your bunion may come back.

    The chance of complications depends on the exact type of bunion treatment you are having and other factors such as your general health. Ask your surgeon to explain in more detail how any risks apply to you. 

    At Spire Cardiff Hospital our Foot & Ankle Surgeons offering open bunion surgery are Mr Declan O'DohertyMr Anthony Perera  and Mr Paul Hodgson.  

    Open bunion surgery
  • About minimally invasive surgery

    Spire Cardiff Hospital's Centre of Excellence for Orthopaedic Care is also offers a new technique to its range of treatments, keyhole (minimally invasive) surgery for bunions. Mr Anthony Perera is one of just a handful of surgeons who undertakes this in the UK. Mr Perera has an extensive forefoot practice and trained directly with Dr Joel Vernois, the French surgeon who introduced the technique.

    What is keyhole bunion or arthritis surgery ?

    Keyhole surgery requires two or three small incisions of approx 3mm each. These incisions generally heal extremely well and are barely visible with excellent cosmetic appearances.

    The smaller incisions potentially cause less swelling and tissue damage which can be painful and hinder the movement of the toe. This may result in patients being able to mobilise earlier and with less difficulty.

    Our practice of this surgery at Spire Cardiff Hospital is for patients to commence their joint rehabilitation and be able to walk in a protective shoe immediately after surgery. The aim is for patients to be back in to flat shoes at six weeks and back in heels and return to sporting activity over the next couple of months.

    Keyhole bunion surgery is not suitable for everyone and the patient’s clinical condition needs to be properly assessed before any treatment is proposed.  This is still a relatively new procedure and limited outcome data is available.

    The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines, which are always given to patients to review and discuss with their consultant. Alternatively, if you would like to view this in advance please visit http://www.nice.org.uk/

    Complications specific to bunion removal include:

    • the tendons in your big toe can be damaged during surgery and this can affect how well your toe moves
    • the nerves in the toe can also be injured and you may find your toe is numb in places
    • occasionally, the pain and swelling may be persistent, lasting for a few weeks, or some cases for longer. Some people develop a callus (a hardened area of skin) on the bottom of their foot

    It's also important to know that although your surgeon will be experienced at this type of surgery, your bunion may come back. 

    At Spire Cardiff Hospital the Foot & Ankle Surgeon offering Minimally Invasive Bunion surgery is Mr Anthony Perera.

    Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery

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