Bunion removal is a surgical procedure that corrects a deformed area of the foot near the big toe. Bunion removal is sometimes called a bunionectomy, bunion surgery, or hallux valgus correction. Hallux valgus is a Latin phrase that means “foot deformity.”
An ‘osteotomy’ is an operation when the bone at the base of the toe (the metatarsal bone) is divided and repositioned. The bony bump that has formed over time, is usually trimmed during this procedure. The operation aims to strengthen the big toe, and also to narrow the forefoot, hopefully returning it closer to its original shape.
Because the operation involves dividing the bone, it has to be held in position while the bone heals together again. In the majority of cases small screws, wires or staples are used. The foot is usually protected in a special post-operative shoe or boot during this time.
In cases where the bunion is relatively small there is a simple procedure known as and “exostectomy”. This is where the bump on the toe joint is removed, often referred to as being shaved off. This is only done with mild bunions as it doesn’t correct the position of the toe, it simple removes the lump.
Big Toe Fusion (Arthrodesis)
The word “arthrodesis” is the term for surgical immobilisation of any joint by fusion of the bones, and in this case, we are dealing with the joint of the big toe. This procedure will most likely be to correct a severe deformity in this case a large bunion. Bunions of this nature tend to recur if a lesser form of treatment is used and a fusion will virtually guarantee this will not at its base with first metatarsophalangeal joint whilst also removing bony bumps and correcting any residual deformity.
A small cut is made along the side of the toe and the joint is opened. Any large bony lumps are trimmed and then joint surfaces are cut and trimmed enabling the toe to sit in the right position and then it is fixed together, normally with two screws or a small plate.