Bunion deformities are among the most common foot problems treated by foot and ankle specialists.

This condition occurs when the great toe shifts position over time due to both genetic and environmental factors. The resulting bump on the side of the foot can easily become impinged by shoes, causing pain and disability. Over time – and without proper treatment – the condition will continue to progress, and may even lead to nerve damage, arthritis and other deformities.

Because of this, a bunion can have a serious impact on your quality of life:

  • Pain may limit you from participating in activities such as exercise or sports.
  • Pain may reduce your overall mobility and the amount of time you can spend on your feet.
  • Previously comfortable shoes may become too painful to wear, and your choices of footwear may become limited.
  • Most importantly, a bunion can impact your ability to enjoy time spent with family and friends.

Unfortunately, a bunion can sometimes be a source of embarrassment as well. Patients often must choose between hiding their feet in uncomfortable, closed-toe shoes or wearing open sandals that provide some relief from pressure but display their deformed feet for all to see.

But there is good news! Conservative treatments are often able to provide some much-needed relief from painful bunion symptoms. And even when these measures are not successful (as is the case with many severe bunions), advanced surgical procedures, like Lapiplasty®, can directly address these symptoms and permanently remove the “bump.”

Of course, we always use surgery as a last resort. Only when all other applicable conservative treatments have been tried and failed, or it is clear that these attempts will not be successful, will we consider a surgical approach.

Conservative Bunion Treatment

When appropriate, conservative (non-surgical) treatments may be helpful in reducing the pain associated with bunions. Some of these include:

  • Changes in footwear to prevent progression of the condition and minimize pressure on the area.
  • Padding to reduce pressure placed on the bunion, which can reduce pain and prevent other painful problems, like corns.
  • Custom orthotic devices to help reduce the forces that contribute to the progression of the deformity.

Keep in mind that bunions are a progressive condition and will not go away on their own. Over time, they will continue to get worse, and may even lead to other problems such as arthritis and other deformities. And though the measures listed above can often help manage painful symptoms, the only way to correct the deformity is through surgery.

Correcting Bunions Through Surgery

When considering bunion correction procedures, there are several options to choose from. These can range from simply shaving off the visible bump, to cutting and shifting parts of bones, to fusing different bones together. Each choice has their advantages and disadvantages.

It is important to understand that a bunion is not just a bump on the side of the foot; it is actually a complex, three-dimensional deformity that is caused when an unstable joint in the middle of the foot allows the bone behind the great toe (the first metatarsal) to shift out of position. As this occurs, the great toe turns towards the second toe, resulting in the bump on the side of the foot.

The ideal bunion correction will successfully address this complex 3D deformity while offering an optimal recovery and long-term stability of the correction. And that’s where Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction comes in!

A New, Advanced Way to Correct Bunions

Dr. Thomas Pignetti and Dr. Fernando Fernandez are proud to be the first and most experienced surgeons in The Woodlands to offer Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction. What’s more, Advanced Foot Care is the first practice in the greater Houston region to be recognized as a Lapiplasty Centurion Center. This highest level of distinction given by Treace Medical Concepts (the company that developed and patented the procedure) identifies us as one of the most experienced practices in the nation to offer this procedure.

The Lapiplasty® procedure provides the benefits of a standard, reproducible surgical approach that achieves tri-planar 3D correction by using special instrumentation specifically designed to manipulate and reduce the bunion prior to making the initial bone cuts. This allows for minimal bone removal, which nearly eliminates the risk of significant bone shortening – and the end result is a more normal foot structure.

Titanium plates designed specifically for this procedure secure the correction at the previously unstable joint, addressing the root cause of the bunion deformity. The plates are thin, yet strong enough to permit weightbearing in a removable cast boot in as early as three days following surgery.

This is in sharp contrast to traditional procedures that required at least six weeks of complete non-weight bearing.


What to Expect from a Lapiplasty® Procedure

As it is true with most surgical procedures, there are multiple steps to Lapiplasty® surgery. When you come to our office, we will explain in detail what the procedure entails and what you should expect going into it.

But here’s a breakdown of what a Lapiplasty® surgery looks like:

  • Once you are brought to the operating room, you will be given anesthesia that will keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. You will also receive an antibiotic through your IV line to protect against infection.
  • During the procedure, specially designed instrumentation will be used to manipulate and reduce the bunion prior to making any cuts in the bone. This allows us to see, ahead of time, how your correction is going to appear prior to performing any actual cutting of the bone.
  • Once the bones are manipulated into their ideal position for correction, we will use a specially calibrated guide to cut the bone very carefully and precisely through as small an opening as possible. This eliminates guesswork, making results more predictable while minimizing the risk of excessive bone shortening.
  • Thin sections of bone are then removed from the unstable joint causing the bunion. The bone is realigned and rotated into place using a special tool and secured using special patented titanium screws and plates. These are designed to be thin but strong enough to permit early weight bearing.
  • Finally, we will close the surgical site and administer a long acting local anesthetic to the foot to reduce post-operative discomfort. Your foot will then be covered with sterile gauze and bandages.

From beginning to finish, the entire procedure takes about one hour to complete.

What to Expect from Recovery

Recovering from Lapiplasty® surgery is also substantially easier in comparison to similar traditional bunion surgeries that require up to 6-8 weeks of non-weight bearing. In fact, one of the benefits of choosing this procedure over traditional bunion surgeries is that patients can bear weight on their foot much sooner. Nearly all our Lapiplasty® patients are able to bear weight on their foot within one week – most in just three days using a surgical boot.

Of course, results will greatly depend on the severity of the condition and other factors, including age and health status. Regardless, patients should always carefully follow recovery instructions from start to finish – this means no bearing weight until we recommend you do so.

After a successful Lapiplasty® procedure, the risk of recurrence is very low, and your bunions will likely be permanently gone. This is yet another sharp contrast to other procedures, which often require additional surgical revisions years after the initial procedure.

Is Lapiplasty® Right for You?

The only way to truly find out if Lapiplasty® is the right choice for you is by coming to our office so we can evaluate your condition. Only then will we be able to determine which treatment is best to provide the relief you need and deserve.

That said, in our experience Lapiplasty® really is the best surgical option for bunions in most cases, particularly when your bunion is more severe. Still, surgery is usually recommended only as a last resort, and if conservative treatment measures are enough to help manage your symptoms, we will definitely recommend them first.

If these conservative attempts prove unsuccessful, or we determine your condition too severe to respond to these measures, we can then start discussing surgical options. We will be sure to explain the full pros and cons of each procedure so you can move forward with treatment feeling confident. 

Don’t Let Bunion Pain Hold You Back

Whether you have had a bunion for years, or you just now noticed one developing, come visit our office for the treatment you need and deserve – surgical or non-surgical. The sooner you get proper treatment, the better your chances will be of avoiding surgery altogether.

So don’t wait another minute – give our office a call today at (281) 292-7000 to schedule an appointment. You can also take advantage of our handy online request form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.

Advanced Foot Care in the News: Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction 

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