A Comprehensive Guide to Bunion Surgery
Bunion removal surgery (sometimes called a bunionectomy or hallux valgus correction) is a relatively simple and pain-free procedure that involves removing some bone and soft tissue from your big toe before re-aligning the joint in order to relieve discomfort and pain as well as to make the toe straighter.
Preparing for bunion surgery
To prepare for bunion removal surgery you will have various medical tests including an X-ray, and typically blood and urine analysis. This is to ensure you have no underlying conditions that could cause complications during or after surgery.
Once your diagnosis, treatment plan and a date for surgery have been agreed, your surgeon may ask that you pause taking certain medication you may be on, as well as instructing a short fasting period before surgery.
Recovery from surgery
Recovery from bunion surgery usually takes 6-8 weeks. As a rule of thumb patients (who enjoy running) could expect to do so from 6 weeks post procedure.
Within the first week you should rest with your foot elevated and iced to reduce swelling. Your foot will be in a special surgical shoe, cast or boot for 2/3 weeks so you may need crutches in order to move around.
After the initial recovery period has elapsed and your cast is removed, you should wear soft shoes to minimise any pressure on the repaired toe - and avoid high heels.
Physiotherapy is recommended after the immediate recovery phase - from approxiately 3 weeks - but about 50% of patients want or need it.
The bunion correction procedure
The three main types of bunion surgery are 1. exostectomy, 2. osteotomy, and 3. arthrodesis. Based on the severity and cause of the bunion, the surgeon may simply remove the growth from the joint (exostectomy), realign the joint to its original position (osteotomy), or repair the joint with metal plates and prevent the bunion from reoccurring (arthrodesis).
Irrespective of the method used the procedure will take roughly the same amount of time (around 1 hour) and you will be able to go home a few hours after the surgery is complete.
How to judge the best providers for bunion surgery
Surgeon and hospital performance
Surgeons performing higher volumes of bunion surgery will typically achieve better results, lower complications rates and faster recovery times - so ensuring you choose one of the top performers is important. Furthermore a dedicated orthopaedic unit, one specialised in performing procedures like bunion surgery, will have: a) specialised staff able to meet your specific needs, such as an experienced orthopaedic anaesthetist, and b) have more rigorous processes to speed up recovery.
Hospitals collect 2 main types of information from patients - direct reviews and outcome scores. Outcome scores capture the effectiveness of the treatment patients received over the longer term, as opposed to their experience in hospital. For patient experience feedback, it's worth looking at independent search engine reviews (to avoid bias) and PHIN, the Private Healthcare Information Network.
How Compare my Care works for you
Compare my Care works by analysing surgeon and hospital performance data, the quality of facilities and patient experience information to compare and rank providers' bunion removal surgery against others in the area.
Our medical specialist concierge team will then coordinate with you to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced, specialist surgeon at your selected hospital, using our knowledge to find the highest performing one for your surgery.
Introducing Protect my Care
‘Protect my Care’ is a unique ‘cash-back' insurance policy provided by Compare my Care. It was created to give patients additional protection and peace of mind when paying for their own surgery.
All surgeries come with risks but in the hands of a super-specialist surgeon these can be reduced further. However, in the rare event that a repeat surgery is needed, patients will be refunded the cost of their original procedure - to spend as they see fit.