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Bunion surgery can be performed safely as a day surgery procedure under either local anaesthetic, sedation and local anaesthetic or a full general anaesthetic. The benefits of day surgery are that your risk of infection is lower the sooner you leave hospital, and you are able to walk immediately following the procedure – although you do need to ensure the operated foot is elevated as much as possible in the first 48 hours.

Bunion surgery involves: Bone limiting joint motion and/or bone protruding from the joint is removed and the big toe is realigned. Usually a bone cut is made to allow for realignment of the metatarsal bone. Tight soft tissues are released on the inside of the joint and loose soft tissues on the outside of the joint are tightened. A combination of bone and soft tissue procedures allow the big toe to be properly aligned. A pin is used under the skin to hold the bone in its new position. Occasionally these pins need to be removed although this is rare. The majority of bunion surgery is performed as day surgery and allows for immediate walking after surgery.

Excellent results and greater satisfaction have been reported in patients undergoing foot surgery by podiatric specialists compared to other specialists 1. In one study, GP’s were more pleased with the results of foot surgery provided by podiatric specialists than other specialists 2. Foot surgery performed by podiatric specialists improves Health Related Quality of Life 3, is associated with low complication rates and is safe and effective 4-6. Substantial financial savings; decreased waiting time for elective foot surgery; increased productivity; improved prevention of co-morbidities; and a quicker return to an improved quality of life are all associated with the service provided by podiatric specialists 7

  1. Armanasco et al. “Integration of podiatric surgery within an orthopaedic department: an audit of patient satisfaction with labour force implications.” The Foot 22.3 (2012): 200-204.
  2. Helm et al. “Podiatric surgery and orthopedic surgery: a customer satisfaction survey of general practitioners.” The Foot 13.1 (2003): 53-54.
  3. Bennett et al. “Health-related quality of life following podiatric surgery.” Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association 91.4 (2001): 164-173.
  4. Butterworth et al. “Postoperative infection rates in foot and ankle surgery: a clinical audit of Australian podiatric surgeons, January to December 2007.” Australian Health Review 34.2 (2010): 180-185.
  5. Gilheany et al. “Minimally invasive surgery for pedal digital deformity: an audit of complications using national benchmark indicators.” Journal of foot and ankle research 8.1 (2015): 17.
  6. Kilmartin, TE. “Podiatric surgery in a Community Trust; a review of activity, surgical outcomes, complications and patient satisfaction over a 4 year period.”The Foot 11.4 (2001): 218-227.
  7. Access Economics. “The economic impact of podiatric surgery”, 22 September 2008. Available at: http://acps.edu.au/cms_files/Podiatric_Surgery_ Report220908b.pdf
  • By – Dr Ji Soo Kim
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