Why You Should Avoid Having A Bunionectomy
Bunions annoy their bearers for a variety of reasons: they can be painful, they alter the foot’s shape to the point that favorite shoes become uncomfortable, and – let’s face it – they aren’t pretty. But an unsightly bunion doesn’t necessarily warrant surgery. In fact, doctors warn against bunion surgery for cosmetic reasons, a procedure commonly referred to as a bunionectomy. There are over 200 types of bunion surgeries offered (often aggressively advertised) to help the over 23% of adult Americans, and nearly half…” of the growing senior population, afflicted by bunion pain.
Orthopedics expert Jonathan Cluett, M.D., recommends surgical treatment only if pain from the bunion prevents a person from wearing normal shoes without a significant amount of pain. After all, bunion surgery provides no guarantee that it will end your foot problems or pain. According to Podiatry Today, those who undergo bunion surgery risk loss of correction, delayed union, joint stiffness, nerve entrapment, excessive shortening, hardware failure, swelling, infection, deep vein thrombosis and complex regional pain syndrome.
As for those that undergo surgery in order to change the appearance of their foot, “bunions may not be pretty, but cosmetic deformity is not a good reason to perform surgery” Dr. Cluett wrote. “There are too many potential complications to perform a bunion surgery simply for cosmetic reasons” Dr. Clifford Jeng of Mercy Medical Center also urges clients to only consider a bunionectomy to address pain experienced during required activities such as working or walking. He reminds us that bunionectomies are not plastic surgery. During the procedure, the bone is cut in half and re-positioned to achieve proper alignment. (Even here at Bunion Bootie, we hear from many customers that have undergone not one, not two, not three, but FOUR bunionectomies in an effort to correct their bunion issue!)
Further, for those that think that their favorite heels with fit like a glove after surgery, Dr. Cluett offers this fun fact; “Bunion surgery decreases the width of the forefoot by only about 1/8 of an inch. That’s not much!… In one study, a leading researcher on foot problems such as bunions, found that 1/3 of his patients could not wear the type of shoe they desired prior to surgery”.
Reputable doctors, specifically orthopedic experts strongly suggest nonsurgical efforts before considering surgery. Examples include wider shoes, pads, spacers, or splints. Dr. Cluett also iterated that surgical bunion treatments aren’t necessarily quicker or more effective than non-surgical treatments. Dr. Gary Pichney, a surgical podiatrist at the Institute for Foot & Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center also recommends nonsurgical remedies at first recourse. “While such approaches can reduce the discomfort and may prevent a bunion from getting worse, they don’t correct the condition. Dr. Pichney says about half of his patients end up opting to do surgery.” (Source: WSJ.com)
Many bunion sufferers consider surgery for many reasons; in hopes to end their bunion pain, to change the look of their foot, or to fit into their favorite shoes again – but surgical treatment isn’t always right for everyone. Today’s foot doctors are warning against surgical options for bunion sufferers looking to treat their bunions for cosmetic reasons -it simply isn’t worth the risk.