Patient Information – Bunions – Hallux Valgus
Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery (MICA)
Hallux Valgus (Bunion) Treatments
We are one of the few practices in the world where all forefoot problems requiring surgery are treated by minimally invasive techniques. Bunion problems are no exception, and this means a far shorter post-op recovery time for patients.
Please watch the slide show video below. It has some surgical photos, but because of the minimal nature of the surgery, the content is interesting rather than offensive. In the slideshow, we show the surgical techniques including X-ray images of pin placement, and discuss the expected post-operative recovery times.
Bunions – Hallux Valgus condition and symptoms
Bunions – Hallux Valgus are a common deformity in our community. They occur due to a muscle imbalance that is either inherited or caused by inappropriate footwear. Bunions worsen as we get older and can eventually cause pain and deformity.
The bunion may damage other parts of your feet as well. Pain is felt because of their size and abnormal mechanics. The time to have treatment is when they cause significant pain or you have difficulty in finding comfortable footwear. Occasionally bunions are treated when they are not painful in themselves but are placing the rest of the foot at risk of major problems.
Over the last 20 years 4500 bunion procedures have been performed in this practice. It’s wonderful seeing people’s lives transform from pain and deformity to comfort and activity.
About the Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery (MICA) procedure
For a long time I performed the scarf/akin procedure but have moved to the MICA procedure in 2017.
I first trained in the MICA procedure in 2012 but waited until I was sure that it could provide the reliable and safe results that our patients require. I was glad that I had so much experience behind me because the MICA procedure is much trickier, but the benefits to the patient are enormous.
This type of surgery allows correction of bunion deformities via small incisions. Usually only 4 keyhole incisions are required. It has great benefits as anatomical correction can be obtained with minimal trauma and pain.
A single bunion correction is performed as a day case. Both feet can be treated together with a one night stay.
Post-operative care for Bunions
After minimally invasive bunion surgery, early weight bearing is allowed as wound healing is rapid. Infection risk is greatly reduced.
Recovery is rapid with a bandage required for only one week.
After the bandages have been removed, footwear is permitted although comfort shoes are best at this stage.
Daily life is generally quite normal around three weeks post surgery and low impact gym exercises can be started anytime after the first week.
Biologically it takes the body around one hundred days for complete healing regardless of the technique chosen but the minimally invasive bunion surgery allows a quicker return to work, daily life and fitness.
The goal of any bunion surgery is restoration of anatomy and mechanics. Removing the lump and straightening the foot is obviously required.
The keys to long term success are restoring the ideal anatomy and mechanics. This will allow full range of motion (so there’s generally no problem with high heels after surgery), correct function to provide normal weight bearing, and muscle balance to prevent recurrence.