Is a Bunionectomy the Same as Bunion Surgery?

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Apr 10, 2015 1:33:51 PM

definition_in_dictionaryIf you have a bunion, you may be experiencing more than the pain from the bump on your big toe. Just trying to understand the jargon and multiple medical terms you read can be painful enough. You may have frequently come across the term “bunionectomy” and wondered if it's synonymous with bunion surgery or a completely different procedure.

Before we get into the foot education, here’s a quick lesson in English – anytime the suffix “ectomy” is used, it denotes the surgical removal of something. It comes from the Greek ektome or excision, from ek ‘out’ + temnein “to cut.” Think “appendectomy” (the removal of the appendix).  So we can conclude that bunion + ectomy (bunionectomy) is the removal of a bunion.

Bunion surgery is commonly called a bunionectomy or hallux valgus correction, a Latin phrase that means foot deformity. But let’s not get caught up in semantics. The more important issue at stake is the type of surgery you are considering for the removal of your bunion.

Traditional Bunion Surgery

A bunion is formed when the toe moves out of place, caused by an enlargement of the joint located at the base and side of the big toe. Now here’s your history lesson. Traditional bunion surgery was used for years to correct bunions using a bone-cutting or bone-mending procedure that’s medically known as an osteotomy – a surgical procedure where the bone is cut to shorten, lengthen or change its alignment. This was very painful for patients, caused significant trauma to the foot, and a long recovery time.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Then a minimally invasive technique came along, which refers to a procedure that is done by making a very small incision in the foot or no incision at all. Minimally invasive bunion surgery corrects the position of the big toe joint causing the bunion deformity without any bone cutting. It also causes significantly less pain than traditional surgery and minimal to no scarring. It results in a much quicker recovery time too, allowing most patients who have surgery on a Friday to return to their desk job by Monday.

The HyProCure® Stent

While minimally invasive surgery is a viable bunion treatment, HyProCure® implantation should be the first option considered. HyProCure® is a relatively new procedure that places a titanium stent into the naturally occurring space between the ankle bone and heel bone to correct misalignment in the foot.

What does this possibly have to do with bunions? Your bunion is a result of the bones in the back of your foot dislocating forward and to the side. This causes the subtalar joint to dislocate as well, and additional pressure to be placed on the outside of your big toe. This in turn produces increased bone growth, and leads to the bunion bump formation. In essence, HyProCure® gets to the root cause of your bunion. A recent study showed a 40% to 50% reduction in both the size and pain level of bunions for patients after getting the procedure.

Some bunions may not be corrected completely by HyProCure®, in which case bunion surgery may be an option. So, now that you know that a bunionectomy is a form of bunion surgery, and that there is another option for you to consider, it’s best to get the recommendation of a qualified podiatrist.

If you’re in the New York area, visit a podiatrist at Adler Footcare. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.

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Topics: Bunion Surgery, foot surgery, HyProCure