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Procedures

Bunion Removal

General Information

Bunions are abnormal growths of the joint of the big toe. A bunion may cause the big toe to grow inward toward the other toes. The resulting deformity causes a large, calloused and often-painful ridge or bump on the inside edge of the toe. A bunion removal is done through surgery known as exostectomy or bunionectomy. During the procedure, soft tissues or ligaments that surround the joint of the big toe are often removed.

Reasons for Bunion Removal

  • Pain
  • Difficulty walking
  • Correction of deformity of the toe

Diagnosis

Prior to receiving bunion removal surgery, you may be required to undergo a number of tests that may include:

  • Physical examination - includes determination of range of motion, pain level and ability to walk
  • X-rays
  • Bone scan
  • MRI
  • CT scan

Surgery

Prior to surgical approaches to treat bunions, you will undergo a thorough foot examination by a podiatrist or foot doctor. A common approach to bunion surgery is to remove sections of bone from the first metatarsal head of the big toe. This removal and repair is done by shaving, chipping or removal of portions of metatarsal bone. To remove the bunion, the doctor will:

  • Make an incision over the bunion
  • Open the joint capsule
  • Remove through chipping, shaving or cutting of excess bone from the metatarsal bone
  • The surgeon may also remove part of or the entire sesamoid bone
  • Cut tendons to allow the toe to straighten
  • Suture the incision
  • Wrap or bandage the foot

What to Expect

Bunion removal is typically an outpatient or same-day surgical procedure. You'll receive a local, spinal or general anesthetic, depending on your case. Give your toe and foot about 8 weeks to heal completely. Sutures can be removed about 10 days post-surgery. You may be given pain relieving medication and antibiotics following the bunion removal.