Correcting Bunions with Lapiplasty
Texas Foot & Ankle Center prioritizes minimally invasive surgical techniques for correcting bunions whenever surgery may be required. We want to provide the best results for our patients while minimizing the impact of a procedure on their day-to-day lives.
Lapiplasty is one such procedure. It provides several distinct advantages over more traditional forms of bunion surgery:
- It provides a more comprehensive correction of a bunion deformity.
- Patients can return to weight-bearing activities faster.
- It greatly reduces the risk of a bunion recurring later in life.
If conservative treatments for a bunion do not provide the results we need and surgery must be considered, Lapiplasty may be one of the first options we consider.
What Makes Lapiplasty Different from More Traditional Procedures?
A bunion is often seen as just a bump jutting out from the side of the foot, but it is more than that.
The bump is caused by an instability and misalignment in the joint at the base of the big toe (aka the metatarsophalangeal joint, or MTP joint). The joint typically does not just shift to the side. It can also move upward and rotate out of alignment as well.
More traditional bunion surgeries have mostly focused on the lateral position of the bones. The metatarsal is cut, shifted, and shaved down to fit a certain shape, but the true deformity itself is not completely corrected.
Lapiplasty takes bunion correction all the way by providing full alignment in 3 dimensions – including rotation. The joint is then permanently secured at the midfoot.
While more traditional bunion procedures come with a significant risk of a bunion returning in the future due to remaining instability, Lapiplasty’s risk of the same is greatly reduced. It is a more “big picture” procedure, but one that can still be performed with minimal invasion.
How is Lapiplasty Performed?
Lapiplasty uses specialized tools and very precise incisions to restore alignment and stability while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
A unique tool is used to rotate and reposition the entire metatarsal where it should be. The tool then securely holds the bone before tiny, precise cuts are made with a guide tool.
Another tool will then compress and hold the joint together while small but highly durable titanium plates are inserted to hold the joint in place. The idea of permanently holding a joint may sound detrimental, but the joint was not supposed to originally move anyway. Fixing it in place will not have any noticeable effect on motion, nor will the titanium plates used for the purpose show any major profile through the skin.
To ensure everything is completed correctly, in-surgery fluoroscopic guidance is used at multiple points during the procedure. This essentially provides us with a real-time moving x-ray so we can view where everything is placed.
After Lapiplasty: What to Expect
A cast is typically not required after a Lapiplasty procedure, and a patient should be able to quickly return to weight-bearing activities.
Some patients can be back to walking (with the support of a walking boot) in just a few days, although some may require up to 2 weeks. The timeframe will largely depend on the condition of the original bunion, in addition to other health factors.
Most patients are back into standard shoes in 6-8 weeks.
Although recovery after Lapiplasty tends to be faster due to being minimally invasive, it remains essential to follow all post-surgical instructions as carefully and completely as possible. We’ll provide guidelines tailored to your specific needs and situation, and will gladly answer any questions you might have. Returning to certain activities too soon can risk compromising or complicating your recovery.
The long-term results of Lapiplasty are very favorable. Studies have shown that the comprehensive correction of Lapiplasty makes a bunion 12 times less likely to recur than surgeries that do not approach from all three dimensions.
The Best Approach to Your Bunion Treatment
Whether conservative treatments, Lapiplasty, or another bunion procedure are the best route to finding relief, there is no reason to hold off getting the expert help you deserve.
The sooner a bunion can be identified and treated – even if it’s not causing you any current troubles – the better you can avoid future problems and complications. Schedule an appointment by calling our Dallas office or by filling out our online contact form.
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