Bunionectomy....What to Expect
Most bunion surgeried today are performed on an outpatient basis at a surgical center or hospital. Set aside the entire day for the surgery, although you may only be at the facility for a half day.
Prior to the surgery, patients will need to make some preparatory arrangements.
- Patients with health problems may need to see their PCP's to be sure the medical problems are stable.
- A full medical history is reviewed prior to surgery along with informed consent reviewing the details of the surgery.
- Arranging your schedule to make sure you don't need to take any long trips for at lease 2-3 weeks after the surgery.
- Stopping the use of any anti-inflammatory medications such as aspiring, ibuprofin, a week prior to surgery.
The night before surgery:
- No food or drink after midnight
- Wash foot and leg with surgical prep solution to help prevent infection
Bunion surgery is usually performed with a combination of a local anesthetic and either light sedation or general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used is dependent on the type of procedure planed, the individual patient, and anesthesiologist. After surgery, patients are often given long-acting local anestheic and pain medication. It will be necessary that you have someone drive you home after surgery.
The type of procedure you have will determine the degree of weight bearing that will be allowed after surgery. A splint if often used initially and then a cylinder cast is applied after swelling has reduced. A knee scooter and crutches are recommended to most, however, there are other assistive devices that maybe needed. During the first week after surgery, the foot will need to be elevated as much as possible. Ice packs also should be applied (usually behind the knee) for the first few days to control swelling.
Sutures are generally removed about 2 weeks after surgery. Hand held showering can be performed on a bath bench as long as the foot is protected from getting wet. If the foot gets wet be mistake the office should be contacted due to the risk of infection. Keep the cast dry.
When it is safe to bear weight, it will be done gradually with assistive devices such as rocker shoes or cast boots.
Prolonged swelling, color changes, toe stiffness, and weakness is to be expected for some time. Physical therapy can help accellerate the recovery.