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Bunion Surgery

Bunion surgery is an operation to remove or realign the bone that sticks out on your big toe when you have a bunion. This will set your toe joint into a better position and relieve pain.

Preparing for Bunion Surgery

Your surgeon will explain how to prepare for your operation.

Bunion surgery is usually done as a day-case operation. This means you have the operation and can go home the same day.

Bunion surgery is done under general anaesthesia and you will be asleep during the operation.

It’s important that you don’t eat or drink anything for six hours before your operation. Follow your anaesthetist or surgeon’s advice. If you have any questions, just ask.

Your surgeon will discuss with you what will happen before, during and after your procedure.. If you’re unsure about anything, ask. No question is too small. Being fully informed will help you feel more at ease and allow yourself to go ahead with the bunion surgery.

What Happens During Bunion Surgery?

Surgery to remove a bunion usually takes less than an hour.

Usually, the operations will involve your surgeon removing some bone and re-aligning it to make the side of your foot look straighter. The exact shape of the cut will depend on your specific needs. Your surgeon might repair ligaments and tendons in your foot too. They may use screws or wires to keep everything in place. These are usually permanent, but sometimes your surgeon will remove them later.

To access your bunion, your surgeon may first make a cut on the inner side of your foot, over your big toe joint. Or they might do keyhole surgery and get to the bone through several small cuts.

An operation called metatarsal osteotomy is a common type of bunion surgery that involves cutting and re-shaping the bone of your big toe joint. The animation below shows what happens.

What to Expect Afterwards

You’ll need to rest until the effects of the general anaesthetic have passed.

Your foot will usually be in a bandage after the operation and you may have a splint or plaster cast. This is to protect your foot and help keep it in the right position. Your hospital will usually give you some crutches and a special shoe to wear.

You’ll usually be able to go home when you feel ready. This will usually be about an hour or two after your operation. Your nurse may give you a date for a follow-up appointment before you leave.

Recovering From Bunion Surgery

Put your foot up in the first few weeks by resting it on a stool, as this will help to reduce any swelling.

The time it takes for the bones in your foot to heal will vary. You might be able to walk straight away (wearing a post-operative shoe that protects your foot) but may need crutches for the first few days.

Ask your surgeon when you can put weight on your foot.

Keep the dressing and cast dry and always wear your protective shoe when you go outside. Put a plastic bag over your foot when you have a shower.

More Queries About Bunion Surgery?

Dr Kevin Yip, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dr Kevin Yip

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