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Beware of "minimally invasive" bunion procedures

OrthoCincy team says beware of "minimally invasive" bunion procedures (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Local orthopaedic surgeons have a warning about a newer way to perform a common foot surgery.

There is a lot of talk these days about a newer way to perform bunion surgery.

Rather than a large incision, some medical teams are promising shorter recovery, a return to the wrong shoes and a quick fix with what's called “minimally invasive bunion surgery.”

“A bunion is a prominence of bone near the inside part of your foot near your big toe and the true cause of it is crookedness or malalignment of your big toe,” said Dr. Nick Gates, Orthopedic Surgery specialist for OrthoCincy. He says to fix that you usually need to straighten it, often with screws and rods. “Typically, it involves cutting the bone, correcting that alignment of the crookedness and then fixing that bone in a different alignment.”

Trying to do that through tiny incisions limits how well a doctor can see under the skin to fix the problem, which is why when it comes to minimally invasive surgery, "this is not necessarily ready for prime time,” said Dr. Gates.

Dr. Gates says either way, there's a lot of healing time needed. So, you have to ask yourself, am I wearing the exact wrong kind of shoe? Shoes that point your toes in can, over time, lead not just to the first bunion but also other complications.

“The risk of recurrence for a bunion happening again is pretty significant,” said Dr. Gates.

Dr. Gates says there are a lot of procedures done through tiny incision in the skin, but right around a bunion there's not a lot of room to work. So he prefers one of the many more standard procedures performed through a larger opening in the skin.

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