Modern advances in minimally invasive bunion surgery techniques and technology have allowed for tiny incisions, a walking recovery, less postoperative pain, shorter operative time and an overall easier recovery.
These improvements in recovery as compared to traditional surgery have been documented with numerous peer reviewed medical publications around the world.
The main advantage of minimally invasive bunion surgery is the ability to perform a bunion correction with minimal disruption or trauma to the overlying skin and underlying soft tissue.
Not all patients are candidates for the procedure and it is very important to properly determine which patients/bunions will benefit from a minimally invasive approach.
MICA stands for Minimally Invasive Chevron Akin. This is the name of the small incision (minimally invasive) operation which is a much less invasive surgery to correct bunions.
A bunion is a bony prominence on the side of the big toe joint. This occurs due to a persons genetics and accelerated by improper shoes. In advanced stages the big toe leans towards the second toe and occasionally the second toe overlaps the big toe. The medical diagnosis is called hallux valgus.
A bunion occurs when the bones supporting the big toe move away from the middle of the foot and the big toe leans toward the other toes. Standard shoes are not made to accommodate a bunion, therefore bunions often rub inside shoes. This may cause inflammation (redness) and pain.
Not all bunions are painful and some can be present without much pain. The movement of the big toe can also cause pressure on the second toe, which can also become deformed creating a hammer toe. Occasionally the second toe will cross over the big toe and may create significant difficulties with dress shoes.
The decision as to whether to operate on a bunion generally driven by pain and limitation of footwear and it is important that you are assessed by an experienced Foot & Ankle surgeon specializing in Bunion repair.
Bunions are commonly inherited and run in families. This genetic link and the majority of people with bunions have a family member with the same problem. Approximately 1/3rd of the population will develop a bunion at some stage in their lives.
Tight footwear can also be important and it is likely that this contributes to the development of bunions in people who are already genetically at risk. This probably explains why the condition is much more common in females than males. In other words, high heeled and pointed toe shoes are not the main cause of the problem, but such footwear can accelerate the condition.
Other causes of Hallux valgus include injury, arthritis and muscle imbalance.
Around half of all bunion sufferers do not need surgery. The aim of non-surgical treatment is to relieve pressure on the bunion and to try to prevent the development of pressure sores and ulcers.
In some cases, comfortable, well-fitted shoes are sufficient to alleviate pain. In some cases, a podiatrist may be able to help with symptoms by making an inner sole to go inside the shoe. There are a lot of splints, pads and cushions sold commercially which may help with symptoms although none of these will correct the bunion. Nothing other than surgery can correct a bunion.
Surgery is recommended when bunions are painful and cannot be treated non-surgically. This is a decision best made with an experienced foot an ankle surgeon such who has extensive experience with this surgery.
The principle of bunion correction surgery is to anatomically align the big toe joint, remove the bunion prominence and straighten the big toe.
This procedure is a significant improvement on traditional bunion repairs as the technique is performed through minimal incisions and the instrumentation and fixation allows for a quicker recovery.