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Bunion  
Bunion

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Definition  

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.

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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:

  • Other attempts at therapy have failed, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, specially shaped shoes, or inserts to decrease pressure
  • The pain of a bunion interferes with walking
  • The foot deformity makes walking difficult
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Possible Complications  

If you are planning to have a bunion removal, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Toe may be misaligned or too short
  • The bunion may recur

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor health
  • Obesity
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What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

Your doctor will likely do the following:

  • Physical exam, especially of your foot
  • Foot x-rays
  • Blood work

Leading up to your procedure:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin
    • Blood thinners
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
  • Arrange for help at home after the procedure.
  • The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • You may be asked to shower the morning of your procedure. You may be asked to use a special antibacterial soap.

Anesthesia  

Depending on the complexity of the surgery, you may be given:

  • Local anesthesia—The area will be numbed.
  • General anesthesia—You will be asleep.

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 reali