What is it?

We are now performing the latest minimally invasive forefoot surgery, at Spire Murrayfield Hospital. The latest minimally invasive method allows the surgeon to perform bony surgery in a closed manner, with the 4-8cm incision being reduced to just several 3mm incisions. As a result the patient can have all the benefits of the open surgery, with much less damage to the skin and soft tissue and a speedier recovery.

What is a bunion?

A bunion is a lump of bone on the knuckle of your big toe. Sometimes the big toe points towards the other toes on the foot (hallux valgus). 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. Exercises and corrective footwear can sometimes help foot bunions. However, when these non-surgical treatments don't work, surgery can relieve pain and correct the deformity. Bunion removal is usually done under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep throughout the procedure. The operation can be performed as a day-case, but a night or two in hospital is sometimes required. Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of having a bunion treatment, and will also discuss the alternatives to the procedure.

About the operation

Your surgeon will make an incision 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. You may also see the physiotherapist again after your cast or dressing is removed. 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.