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What To Expect After Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery

Not everyone with a bunion is a candidate for minimally invasive bunion surgery (MIS). Read more about bunions and the types of surgery in our previous blog posts:

Who is a candidate for minimally invasive bunion surgery?

Most patients with painful bunion deformities may be candidates for minimally invasive bunion corrections. Certain small bunions or bunions with significant arthritis may not be candidates for minimally invasive bunion surgery. 

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon to see if minimally invasive surgery is a good option for your painful bunion. The surgeons at Southwest Orthopedic Group and Dr. Stautberg can discuss if you are a good MIS candidate. 

How is minimally invasive bunion surgery done?

A specialized burr replaces a traditional sagittal saw to create the bone cuts.  The burr is inserted through a small incision, and it is used to create an osteotomy (cut in the bone) of the first metatarsal. This is a Chevron osteotomy.  Then, the bones are shifted to correct the bunion deformity. A second bone cut is made through the proximal phalanx. This is an Akin osteotomy. 

After the bunion is corrected, screws are placed through small incisions to stabilize the bone cuts. The screws provide good stabilization to allow for bone healing, early ROM, and early weight bearing. 

What are the advantages of MIS bunion surgery vs open surgery?

Like any surgery, there are risks. Many of these are similar to open bunion surgery. Early research shows MIS bunion surgery risks can include loss of fixation (screws come loose) or painful hardware. Additionally, damage or irritation to nerves causing numbness or pain in the big toe is a risk. Damage to tendons is rare, but it can happen. 

Early research suggests that the risks of MIS bunion surgery are similar to those of open bunion surgery. 

Is minimally invasive bunion surgery safe?

Although MIS bunion surgery is a newer technique, it has been around for a number of years. Multiple research studies have shown it to be the following:

What should I expect after minimally invasive bunion surgery?

Patients are often allowed to walk on their heel after bunion surgery. Sutures are removed typically 10-14 days postoperative. Most patients do use a postoperative shoe or boot for 6 weeks. At 6 weeks, many patients are able to wear normal shoes. Some swelling may persist for 6 months. 

What are the risks of minimally invasive bunion surgery? 

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about your specific risks of MIS bunion surgery. Overall, the risks are similar to traditional bunion surgeries. These include but are not limited to recurrence of deformity or the bone not healing. 

Other risks include nerve injury causing numbness or pain or painful hardware requiring surgery to remove the hardware. 

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) has more information about MIS bunion surgery at FootCareMD and at PROstep MIS.

For more questions or to set up an evaluation, contact Dr. Stautberg’s office at 281-977-4870. 

For more information regarding MICA, see this link. 


Eugene Stautberg, MD

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