Thumbnail image of: Bunion: Illustration

Bunion Removal

What is bunion removal?

Bunion removal, called a bunionectomy, is a procedure to remove a bony bump on your big toe joint called a bunion. Your provider may also straighten your toe if needed.

When is it used?

This procedure is used when a bunion makes walking painful and other treatments have not helped.

Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

  • Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
  • You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Some products may increase your risk of side effects. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any food or medicine allergies.
  • Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
  • Follow your provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It’s best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
  • Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

Bunion surgery may be done at an outpatient surgery center or the hospital.

You will be given medicine called anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain during the procedure. You may have:

  • Regional anesthesia, which numbs part of your body while you stay awake. If you have regional anesthesia, you may also be given medicine to help you relax. The medicine can make you drowsy or you may fall asleep before the procedure.
  • General anesthesia, which relaxes your muscles and you will be asleep.

Your healthcare provider will make a cut over the bump in your toe, cut off the bump, and put the toe in a more normal position. Your provider may have to make more than one cut, and may have to cut the bone in the toe to reposition it. After the procedure, your provider closes the cut.

Bunion surgery usually takes about 1 hour.

What happens after the procedure?

You may go home the same day or you may stay in the hospital for a day, depending on your condition. When you go home, you will probably wear a brace, special shoe, or cast to help support your toe and foot. You may need to limit your walking for 2 or more weeks, and use a cane, crutches, or walker. Your toe may be painful for a few months.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Ask your provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • You may have problems with anesthesia.
  • You may have infection or bleeding.
  • Other parts of your body may be injured during the procedure.

Ask your provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-12-08
Last reviewed: 2014-12-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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