A Screw in the Foot after Bunion Surgery?

If you’re like my other NYC podiatry patients, and are considering bunion surgery, then it is quite conceivable that you’ll prefer a screw to assist in holding the position of the bones while recovering from surgery.  Let’s spend a few moments discussing the history and benefits of screw fixation for correction of painful bunion deformities.

We have discussed the bunion before, as well as non-surgical and surgical treatment options.  There are quite a few surgical treatment options, most of which involve the realignment of the big toe joint into a straight position.  Not to reveal too many gory details, the procedure does involve the creation of a surgical fracture in the metatarsal, or long bone of the foot.  After the bone is cut, it is then realigned into a corrected, straight position.  Years ago, the next step would have been to place the foot in a cast that restricted weightbearing for a period of 6-8 weeks, not to mention a 1-2 week hospital stay.

However, in these days of advanced materials and managed care, the vast majority of patients undergo bunion surgery as an outpatient procedure and are allowed full weightbearing in a surgical shoe the same day as surgery.  This is due in no small part to the fact that after the bone is cut, a screw is inserted into the bone to maintain the alignment and position.  This screw, usually somewhere around 3 cm in diameter is small, titanium, non-reactive, and, as most of my NYC podiatry patients want to know, does not set off metal detectors.  The screw can also remain in the foot for life, and only needs to be removed in very rare cases if it becomes painful or prominent.  This can be done in a straightforward outpatient procedure performed long after the bone has healed.  At this time, the use of a screw after bunion surgery is considered by most surgeons to be the standard of care.

So, if you have bunions and are considering bunion surgery in NYC and are concerned about the idea of metal implants in the foot, don’t be.  Screw fixation of bunion surgery is a safe, proven and effective method of deformity correction.

See you in the office.

Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson

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