Patients who need bunion surgery generally have two options to choose from—non-invasive or conventional surgery. Surgeons generally determine which method is best for each patient based on several criteria, including their overall health and the dynamics surrounding the bunion. However, there are instances when patients can determine which method they will rely on. If you are in this type of scenario, be sure that you are informed so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
General Anesthesia Concerns
Both non-invasive and conventional bunion surgery requires anesthesia, but not the same type. Non-invasive procedures are typically performed with conscious sedation, which might involve a sedative gas that helps you relax, in combination with a numbing agent that is injected around the bunion site.
Conventional surgery will require general anesthesia, which means that you will be put to sleep. If you have an aversion to general anesthesia or have had complications in the past, such as difficulty waking up, discuss these issues with the surgeon, as a non-invasive option might be better.
Just how active of a lifestyle you lead should also be a consideration when determining which option to choose. Conventional procedures require larger incisions, which require a longer recovery period. Some patients may have to limit their activity on their feet from weeks to months and will likely be required to wear a cast during this period.
Non-invasive procedures only require a small number of very small incisions which afford patients the opportunity to return to their normal lifestyle almost immediately, while still exercising caution. Additionally, a soft cast is generally worn instead of a hard cast. For patients with little space for downtime, non-invasive procedures are ideal.
Bone Alignment Needs
The degree to which the bunion has impacted the bone is also an important selection criterion. In the case of a bunion with mild severity, a non-invasive method might be effective. However, if the bunion has gone untreated for an extensive length of time and the bone alignment has been significantly adjusted, a conventional method may be better suited.
Typically, a conventional operation is necessary to allow for the bone to be cut and the joint manipulated so that the bone can be placed back into proper alignment. A non-invasive procedure for a severe case may prove ineffective.
If you need assistance with determining which procedure type is best for you, do not hesitate to ask a member of your healthcare team.