A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bump or area of bony swelling that often occurs along the side edge of the big toe joint where the toe joins the upper ball of the foot. Bunions are found more commonly in women than men, most likely because of the type of shoes they wear. Bunions cause the big toe to grow inward toward the other toes of the foot, resulting in a deformity that causes a callused and painful bump or ridge on the inside edge of the toe. Bunion removal is typically performed with a scalpel in a surgical procedure known as a bunionectomy or exostectomy, but today is also commonly performed through a laser surgery approach.
In most cases, bunions grow because the big toe has been chronically forced or maneuvered into incorrect positions. These incorrect positions cause the joint of the toe to stick out. In some cases, the big toe may overlap one or more of the other toes. This condition is normally caused by shoes with narrow toes that push the toes together inside, as well as shoes that have high heels.
In traditional bunion surgeries, the doctor makes an incision over the bunion with a scalpel and then opens the joint capsule. The bunion or growth, usually attached to the first metatarsal head of the big toe, is removed by shaving, cutting or chipping away excess bone from the metatarsal. In some cases, the surgeon may remove part of the sesamoid bone, depending on scenario. Then, tendons are cut, which allows the toe to straighten. The incision is sutured, and then the foot is bandaged.
The laser approach to bunion surgery is often misunderstood. Laser surgery minimizes bleeding and risk of infection, and is utilized to make the initial incision, but not to remove the deformity of the bone. Laser technologies to remove bunions may require several sessions depending on the depth of the bunion and the amount of bone that needs to be removed.
Bunion surgery (traditional or laser) is a same-day or outpatient procedure. Local anesthetic is given prior to the procedure. Because the two surgeries are extremely similar except in the initial incision approach, it's important to talk to the podiatrist or laser surgeon regarding benefits and drawbacks of laser bunion removal surgical procedures. The actual bunion removal, postsurgical, and recuperation period is the same for patients who undergo either a traditional or laser approach to bunion removal.
How Much does Laser Bunion Surgery Cost?
Traditional onion surgery averages approximately $1,500 and laser procedures generally cost more because of the technology and expertise required by the healthcare practitioner. Individuals traveling to foreign destinations such as Mexico, India, or Thailand often enjoy reduced costs while still maintaining excellence and quality. Some insurance companies cover the cost of bunion surgery.
Who Performs Bunion Surgery?
A podiatrist who belongs to the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, the American Board of Podiatry Surgery, or the American Academy of Pain Management, or country specific organizations and associations, or trained to deal with not only a number of podiatry issues, but laser surgery approaches in dealing with those issues.
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