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Bunion Surgery: Procedure, Recovery, and Results

Bunion surgery is crucial for correcting the lateral deviation of the big toe and restoring foot functionality. This intervention, conducted by a specialist, yields positive results in improving the quality of life.

What to Know About Bunion Surgery?
Bunions are foot deformities characterized by a lateral deviation of the big toe and a displacement of the metatarsophalangeal joint. This deformity can cause pain, inflammation, toe deformation, and difficulties in walking.

Surgery is essential in the treatment of bunions. It aims to correct the deformity, alleviate pain, and restore foot functionality.

Through a thorough evaluation of the severity of the condition and appropriate surgical planning, satisfactory results can be achieved. Results that improve the quality of life for patients with this condition.


Preparing for Bunion Surgery

Before undergoing bunion surgery, it is essential to follow a series of preoperative steps. These steps ensure an accurate assessment of the condition and appropriate surgical planning.

A foot specialist, such as Dr. Vanni Strigelli, an orthopedic surgeon in Florence, will conduct a comprehensive medical examination. During this procedure, the doctor will assess the severity of the bunion by analyzing the patient’s symptoms, physically examining the foot, and observing the deformity.

Additional tests may be required to better understand the patient’s health status. Subsequently, the surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of bunion surgery.

It is crucial that the patient fully understands the goals of the operation, potential outcomes, possible complications, and the postoperative recovery period.

Surgical Procedure for Bunions

Bunion surgery involves various techniques. The choice of technique depends on various factors, including the severity of the deformity and the patient’s anatomical characteristics. The main surgical techniques include:

  1. Osteotomy, the surgical fracture of a portion of the metatarsal bone to correct the angle of the bunion. Osteotomy can be performed on the head of the first metatarsal or the base of the first phalanx. After osteotomy, the bone is repositioned correctly and fixed with screws or other stabilization devices. In the percutaneous technique, no metallic synthesis means are used, only a bandage that plays a fundamental role.
  2. Resection of bone tissue. In some cases, the resection of excess bone tissue and bony protrusions, such as exostosis, contributing to the bunion deformity, is performed. Removing excess bone tissue helps restore better alignment of the big toe and the metatarsophalangeal joint.
  3. Ligament correction. In certain situations, ligaments around the metatarsophalangeal joint may be strengthened or lengthened to correct the bunion deformity. This procedure aims to stabilize the joint and prevent the recurrence of the deformity.

Bunion surgery can be performed under local anesthesia, rarely spinal. If the patient is anxious about the intervention, sedation may be administered, but general anesthesia is not necessary.

Traditional or Minimally Invasive Procedure

Surgical access can occur through an open or minimally invasive approach. In the open approach, a wider incision is made to achieve better visibility and access to the foot joint. In the minimally invasive approach, small incisions are made to reduce trauma to surrounding tissues and expedite the healing process. The evolution of minimally invasive techniques includes percutaneous techniques where small surgical wounds are replaced by small puncture incisions.

In any case, during the intervention, the big toe is correctly repositioned through manipulation of soft tissues and/or osteotomy of the metatarsal bone. In some cases, fixation devices such as screws, plates, or wires may be used to stabilize the big toe and the joint. Finally, the incisions are closed using stitches or other closure methods according to the surgeon’s preferences.

Results and Prognosis of Bunion Surgery

The expected results from bunion surgery are positive and provide relief for the patient’s pain. The surgical procedure offers the opportunity to correct the angle of the bunion, thereby reducing the deformed appearance of the foot. The big toe is repositioned to a more normal position, improving the alignment of the metatarsophalangeal joint.

In this way, the removal of bony protrusions and joint correction can significantly reduce pain over time, allowing the patient to return to daily activities without significant discomfort.

The recovery time varies from person to person but usually requires several weeks or months. During this period, the patient may need to use braces or special shoes, undergo physical therapy, and limit activities that place excessive stress on the operated foot.

Success Rate of Bunion Surgery

In general, scientific studies report a success rate for bunion surgery around 80-95%. This means that the majority of patients experience a significant reduction in pain, improvement in foot functionality, and satisfactory correction of the deformity.

If you suffer from a bunion, don’t wait any longer. Contact me now: I am Dr. Vanni Strigelli. Schedule an appointment at my office that will restore your joy of living and moving! Contact me to book your visit with an expert orthopedic surgeon in Florence.


A bunion is a foot deformity characterized by the angulation and deviation of the big toe towards the other toes. This condition is usually associated with a structural alteration of the metatarsophalangeal joint, leading to the inclination of the big toe outward. Bunions can cause pain, inflammation, stiffness, and difficulty walking.

The treatment of a bunion depends on the severity of symptoms and the functional limitation it causes for the patient. Initially, conservative measures can be adopted, including the use of appropriate footwear, orthopedic insoles to reduce pressure on the big toe, and specific exercises to strengthen foot muscles. In some cases, it may be helpful to use night splints to correct the deformity.

Bunion surgery, also called corrective osteotomy or bunion correction, involves correcting the deformity through surgical intervention. During the operation, the orthopedic surgeon makes an incision in the bunion and the involved joint.

Depending on the severity of the deformity, various procedures may be performed, such as osteotomy, which involves the surgical fracture of a portion of the bone to correct the angle, or the resection of bone protrusions (exostectomy). After correcting the bunion with the percutaneous technique, neither screws nor nails nor plates are used, but the bandage maintains the correction.

Bunion surgery is generally performed using local or spinal anesthesia, which numbs the affected area and eliminates pain during the procedure.

After the surgery, it is normal to experience some degree of pain and discomfort. However, the pain is usually manageable with analgesic medications prescribed by the doctor. It is important to follow the postoperative instructions provided by the surgeon to alleviate pain and promote rapid healing.

The recovery time varies from person to person but usually requires several weeks or months. During this period, the patient may need to use braces or special shoes, undergo physical therapy, and limit activities that place excessive stress on the operated foot.