By Dr. TRACY MOUNTFORD, MBBS MBCAM on Bunion Treatment
Bunion Removal Surgery
Bunions are bony lumps that often form on the side of the feet. They can cause a great amount of pain and discomfort as well as being aesthetically unpleasing. For some, it can make choosing footwear a chore and even simple activities like walking unbearable. While there is a wealth of products on the market to relieve bunion pain temporarily and prevent them from growing in size, the only clinically proven way to get rid of bunions is surgery.
Consultations and treatments are available at our clinic in London.
*Reviewed by Dr Tracy Mountford, MBBS MBCAM
At The Cosmetic Skin Clinic, we work in collaboration with The Private Clinic, an award-winning UK leader in bunion removal surgery to deliver a leading bunion treatment to our patients. Our minimally invasive bunion removal procedure is a leader in the field, involving no downtime and fast recovery. It uses an exclusive technique pioneered by renowned Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon Dr Andrea Bianchi, MD GMC Number: 7093105, who created a simple ‘walk-in, walk-out’ treatment based on keyhole surgery. This means minimal post-op pain, zero downtime, minimal side effects and a fast recovery. Consultations and treatments are available at our London clinic.
When a bunion forms, many patients seek immediate relief by choosing non-surgical alternative treatments like bunion pads and specialist shoes to alleviate symptoms. While these products provide relief, they do not treat the bunion itself or significantly reduce its size. The only way for patients to get bunions removed permanently involves using a surgical bunion removal technique.
Bunion removal surgery removes or straightens the deformity of the bone which causes the bony lump to form on the foot. There are lots of different types of operations available to patients to treat bunions and re-align the foot joint to make the side of the foot straight again. However, in most cases, getting rid of bunions using surgery is fraught with complications and side effects. We are one of the only clinics in the UK that has pioneered a breakthrough treatment that minimises damaging side effects and maximises optimal patient recovery.
Our minimally invasive bunion procedure has revolutionised the way that bunions are treated. Patients can walk shortly after having the surgery performed, without the need for crutches, metal fixtures or the permanent scars associated with traditional surgery. Our exclusive bunion treatment offers the following key benefits:
– Walk-in-walk out, minimally invasive day case operation
– Quick and easy treatment
– No screws, plates, wires or metal fixtures required
– Minimally invasive keyhole surgery
– No big scars and minimal side effects
– No downtime or crutches needed – you can return to everyday activities immediately
– State-of-the-art medical facilities and superior aftercare support
The results following minimally invasive bunion surgery are instant. You will be required to wear bandages and a specially designed medical black sandal for 1-2 weeks following surgery. You will be able to walk and stand following the operation. Patients will then return to the clinic where they will be able to swap the sandal for an appropriate trainer or similar shoe. This will then be worn for the next 3 weeks. An x-ray image will be taken of the foot after 1-2 months at your follow up appointment, where you will be able to compare your results against the x-ray image taken prior to surgery.
Today, many bunion removal techniques involve long periods of surgical downtime and often result in a significant period of post-op pain. Most private bunion removal surgery requires patients to allow for approximately 6 weeks of downtime where they are not able to walk, work or play sport. Additionally, the standard bunion removal treatments offered by the NHS involve long waiting times in most cases. This means that patients have to go through lengthy periods of discomfort while avoiding everyday activities like sports or walking. This can often deter many bunion sufferers from seeking corrective surgery to solve the problem.
Thankfully, experts at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic have worked with leading Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon Dr Andrea Bianchi to introduce an exclusive minimally invasive procedure that treats bunions quickly and effectively. Dr Andrea has worked for over 15 years in bunion removal operations and is a renowned orthopaedic expert.
A bunion, medically known as Hallax Valgus is a deformity of the foot often around the big toe. In most cases, a bony lump will appear on the outside edge of the foot which then form over time as your big toe pushes against your next toe. This forces the joint of your big toe to grow and stick out the side of your foot.
In more severe cases, the big toe can point towards the other toes on your foot instead of sitting upright. Some people can experience pain, redness and swelling however this does vary between individuals.
The main cause of bunions is often to congenital factors which mean you may be genetically prone to bunions. Although in some case bunions are acquired; this means the bunion has developed from wearing ill-fitting and uncomfortable footwear.
Ill-fitting shoes can cause bunions to develop at a more rapid rate as they are likely to cause excessive pressure and compression on the toes which causes the deformity. The compression increases when wearing shoes with high heels as your body weight will sit at the front of the foot.
Your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet without squeezing or pressing any part of your foot.
Most people will know if they have a bunion by the appearance and often some pain.
It is possible for men to develop bunions. The majority of men’s bunions are hereditary but ill-fitting footwear, collapsed arches and flat feet can also be part of the problem too.
The wearing of high heels and ill-fitting shoes are often blamed for the occurrence of bunions but actually it is more down to genetics and the way that you walk. If you have family members who suffer from bunions then the wearing of tight shoes and stilettos on a regular basis are not going to help but they will not be the direct cause.
There are a range of non-surgical treatments for bunions out there including bunion pads which can help making shoes more comfortable. Bunion corrective braces can also be worn to assist in correcting the deformity over time but for a more instant and long-lasting results, bunionectomy surgery is often advised.
Bunion removal surgery takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
Developed by Dr Andreas Bianchi and his team, the revolutionary technique removes the concept that every fracture needs to be rested in order to heal. Once the bones have been realigned, any fractures are left free so the foot is then encouraged to heal in sync with the patients load-bearing needs and not to a ‘pre-established’ standard that may not be right for the patient.
Dr Andreas Bianchi creates a series of small and precise fractures that are known as geometric fractures which do not force the bone into place using any fixative devices and allows the foot to heal naturally. The bones and joints in the foot are therefore not being forced to repair, this means they heal in a more natural positions which results in better comfort and functionality post-op.
The procedure uses small surgical dental burrs to correct the deformity and modify the bones of the foot. These are inserted through very small 2-3mm incisions and are guided using a special radiological device allowing the surgeon to see the bones and burs without needing to make larger incisions. The important innovation of the technique is that fixative devices such as screws and wires are not used. This allows the fractures to heal according to requirements of the patients foot.
Post procedure, the foot will be bandaged and taped using a personalised bandaging which allows the physiological healing process to spontaneously restructure the foot and avoid any additional stress caused by arbitrary immobilisation. You will be required to wear this for up to 20 days before returning to clinic to have it reduced.
The use of metal screws makes the procedure very invasive and can also create problems such as the joints in the foot not being able to find a natural posture, which can results in a huge amount of discomfort post-surgery. This may results in a second operation being required to remove them. In addition, the healing from this kind of surgery can take a prolonged period of time and in some instances crutches are needed before the foot is able to bear weight.
Dr Bianchi has developed a more natural and biological method without using fixative devices. Through his research over 20 years, Dr Bianchi has proven that self-stabilizing geometric fractures can be made on short-bones (without the need for immobilisation) with long term results. This not only means that healing and recovery is much quicker and easier, but that greater joint mobility is achieved after surgery, compared to standard techniques.
Each procedure is customised to the patients. The bones is fractured, re-aligned and bandaged in such a way that creates the perfect results for the patients anatomy and better comfort and joint articulation. The absence of screws means that the joint is not fixed in one place, it can move freely.
The patient can also go back to walking immediately post-surgery without the need for crutches.
Once your bunion correction is complete you will be encouraged to place your foot on the floor and start walking gradually. Your surgeon will use a personalised bandaging technique to bandage the foot and you will be given a specialised orthopaedic shoe to wear.
Patients will then be given specific aftercare instructions by the surgeon for you to follow post-procedure and a post-op appointment for 15-20 days time will be confirmed.
We recommend that you have your bunion correction procedures carried out on one foot at a time to aid for a better recovery.
Immediately after bunion correction surgery you will be required to wear a specialised orthopaedic shoe for the first couple of days. Your surgeon will let you know post-procedure when you can stop wearing this and go back to wearing your usual shoes.
Full aftercare will be provided by your surgeon after your procedure although we do advise that you initially stick to comfortable and well-fitted shoes to allow your foot to properly heal.
Although you will be able to walk after bunion correction surgery we do advise that you take care when returning to driving. We recommend that patients wait until they are able to wear their usual shoes before driving.
Based on the geometric correction used to correct the bunion it is far less likely to reappear compared to the traditional surgery method. However, it is not impossible. Your surgeon will go over all the risks and complications associated with bunionectomy surgery at your consultation.
Standard bunion surgery procedures involve lengthy periods of recovery. For most procedures, it can take six to eight weeks, with full recovery averaging four to six months. However, the minimally invasive procedure involves minimal post-op pain and aftercare. You will not require crutches or physiotherapy after having the treatment, but you will be provided with a specialised orthopaedic shoe to wear up until you visit our clinic again in 15-20 days after the initial treatment for a post-op check-up. In most cases, patients can then start to wear normal comfortable shoes at this time. This means faster recovery and getting back to normal much more quickly than using other procedures on the market.