What is a Bunionectomy?
A bunionectomy is a medical procedure designed to correct a bunion or a bump sticking out of the outermost portion of a toe joint (usually the big toe). Without proper healthcare and treatment, this condition can lead to pain, swelling, redness, and infection. In some cases, one can correct bunions by soaking the foot in cold water or by wearing looser shoes. But if these conservative measures fail, a bunionectomy is necessary.
How is a Bunionectomy Performed?
Health care professionals perform a bunionectomy under general anesthesia. There are several techniques a surgeon may use, depending on the severity of the case. Minor discomfort may call for just shaving off the bone near the bump, while excruciating pain necessitates breaking the bone and resetting it. This is called an osteotomy. A cut is made over the top of the abnormal joint to remove the bony lump on the side, and the big toe realigned. The bones are sometimes held with a screw or special staple until they heal together. Post-operative infections can usually be treated with antibiotics. Very rarely, a nerve or a blood vessel might get damaged during the operation, and if this happens, the healthcare provide might need to perform a second operation.
Healing after a Bunionectomy
Health care professionals advise rest for the first few weeks after a bunionectomy. One must closely monitor the healing and report promptly to the doctor in case anything out of the ordinary arises (like uncontrollable pain, infection, or more swelling). Patients can report back to work in a matter of days, although the toe might take as long as 6 months to heal completely.