(Hallux Valgus Repair, Bunionectomy)
A bunion removal is a surgery to repair a deformity in the joint that connects the big toe to the foot. It is done by removing excess bone in the joint area and re-aligning the joint.
Reasons for Procedure
A bunion is an inflammation and enlargement of the big toe joint and the tissue around it. In some cases, the deformity is so severe that the bottom of the big toe slants significantly toward the outside of the foot. Surgery to correct it is considered when:
Possible Complications TOP
If you are planning to have a bunion removal, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
Depending on the complexity of the surgery, you may be given:
Description of the Procedure
There are several types of bunion removal procedures. Generally, the doctor will cut into the foot near the bunion. The excess growth of bone will be removed with a bone saw. Depending on the degree of deformity, the doctor may need to cut into the bone of the toe. The bones will then be realigned so that the toe no longer slants to the outside. Other revisions may be needed as well. Improving the angle of the toe and repairing these bones may require a metal pin, screw, or rod to hold the bones in place. The incisions will be closed with stitches. A bulky bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
Anywhere from less than 30 minutes to over 2 hours
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. You will have pain after the surgery. Talk to your doctor about medicine to help manage the pain.
Average Hospital Stay
You may be released the same day or need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Bunion removal may result in better movement with less pain. It may take as long as eight weeks after bunion surgery for your foot to be well-healed.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
American Podiatric Medical Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Podiatry Education Foundation
Bunion surgery. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00140 . Updated September 2012. Accessed April 4, 2013.
Ferrari J. Higgins JP. Prior TD. Interventions for treating hallux valgus (abductovalgus) and bunions. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (1):CD000964, 2004.
Foot care. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/foot-care . Updated April 18, 2012. Accessed April 4, 2013.
Wexler D, Kile TA. Frontera: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 1st ed. Philadelphia; Hanley and Belfus; 2002.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 2/10/2014