Bunion surgery generally involves an incision in the top or side of the big toe joint and the removal or realignment of soft tissue and bone. This is done to relieve pain and restore normal alignment to the joint. Small wires, screws, or plates may be used to hold the bones in place. There are no guarantees that a bunion surgery will fully relieve your pain.
- A regional anesthetic that affects only the foot is commonly used for bunion surgery. A sedative may also be used during the procedure.
- The procedure usually takes an hour or more, depending on the type of surgery.
- Bunion repairs are usually done on an outpatient basis.
There are over 100 surgeries for bunions. Research does not show which type of surgery is best—surgery needs to be specific to your condition. More than one procedure may be done at the same time.
Types of bunion surgery
- Removal of part of the metatarsal head (the part of the foot that is bulging out). This procedure is called exostectomy or bunionectomy.
- Realignment of the soft tissues (ligaments) around the big toe joint
- Making small cuts in the bones (osteotomy) and moving the bones into a more normal position
- Removal of bone from the end of the first metatarsal bone, which joins with the base of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). At the metatarsophalangeal joint, both the big toe and metatarsal bones are reshaped (resection arthroplasty).
- Fusion (arthrodesis) of the big toe joint
- Fusion of the joint where the metatarsal bone joins the mid-foot (Lapidus procedure)
- Implant insertion of all or part of an artificial joint