Bunion surgery is usually the last treatment that is tried to relieve the pain from a bunion. Other less invasive treatments are tried, with varying degrees of success. In fact, some folks who have bunions will not need any intervention. Simply changing the style of shoe may be enough to stop the problem.
Not everyone with bunions is that lucky. Sometimes, the bunion will continue to grow, to the point that surgery is the only option to relieve the pain. There are over 60 different surgical procedures to relieve bunion pain. The actual procedure or procedures that will be done will be determined by your podiatrist.
The surgery will be an outpatient procedure. This means you will need someone with you to drive you home on the day of surgery. You will also need someone to spend the night with you that first night at home, if you live alone. This is just a safety precaution, and having someone there with you, to save you a trip to the kitchen, or to get the phone will be much appreciated.
You may go home with crutches, a special shoe, or a walking cast. Your surgeon will discuss your post-operative needs, prior to your actual bunion surgery. This will allow you to make any necessary preparations at home, and at work. For instance, crutches and throw rugs on the floor are a definite danger. Take the time before surgery to get rid of any obstacles that may make your walking in the house difficult.
This surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. Your procedure will take place in a room where you will be reclining. Your foot will be scrubbed with a special cleaning soap that is antibacterial. The area around your foot will be covered with sterile drapes. Your doctor will have sterile surgical garb on too. You will not need to wear a mask, but you will be told what areas you can touch and what you can not. This just keeps a nice, sterile area around the surgical site. This barrier helps prevent bacteria from entering the surgical site.
The surgery will be done with a local anesthetic, or a nerve block with light sedation. You will be kept comfortable during the procedure. The bunion surgery will take between one and two hours. A long lasting anesthetic will be injected around the surgery site to help with post operative discomfort. You will also be given a prescription for pain medicine to take at home.
You will have stitches to close your incision and those will be removed in one to two weeks. An absorbable pin is used to keep the alignment of the procedure. The pin will dissolve in approximately six months.
It will take about 6 weeks to 6 months for complete healing to take place from bunion surgery. You may have a restriction on how much weight you can place on your foot at first. This restriction will gradually be eased as your recovery proceeds. The amount of time off from work depends upon what procedure is done, and what type of work you do. If you have a desk job you will probably be back sooner than someone who stands all day, or does strenuous work.
Be sure and follow your post operative instructions to the letter. You must absolutely not get your foot wet until given permission by the doctor. This is to help prevent infection. Keeping your weight off your foot for the specified time will ensure that the bones are given a chance to properly set. If your doctor has recommended keeping your foot elevated, be sure and do that as much as possible. This will keep you more comfortable and decrease the swelling in your foot.
Bunions can make walking absolutely miserable. If you and your doctor have tried other methods to relieve your pain, outpatient bunion surgery may be the very best option to relieve your pain.