October 28, 2021
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Best Surgical Procedure For Bunions

What is the best surgical procedure to treat bunions? The answer is, there isn’t one. 

The other day at a gas station, while picking up a few essentials for a road trip, I saw a commercial on the TV screens talking about bunions. Now being a foot and ankle surgeon, of course, I had to see what that was about. The commercial was made by a medical device company directly marketing to patients about “lapiplasty” procedure as the holy grail of corrective bunion surgery.

Lapiplasty is based on the procedure originally done by a surgeon named Paul Lapidus a long time ago. Since then the procedure has evolved and many innovations have been made to make the procedure more accurate, predictable, and reproducible. Many companies offer hardware that can be used to perform this procedure. Just like Lapiplasty there is another company that calls this procedure Lapifuse. By the end of the year, I am sure their competitors will have their own versions to perform this procedure. One is not better than the other. A lot of it comes down to patient-specific needs and the experience of your surgeon. 

Corrective bunion surgery is a delicate procedure, often balancing soft tissue and bone work together to reproduce the best results. Out of the handful of possible procedures, the selection is and should be made based on a multitude of things, such as age, physical demands, bone quality, radiographic findings, history, and a thorough physical exam. This decision should be made by a qualified doctor. 

Minimally invasive bunion surgery is also making a comeback to the medical world. Results are so far great when done the right way, but that holds true for every surgery. Our job as doctors is to stay current with all the developments in the medical field and to provide our patients with all available options so that the patients can make an informed decision. I am in no way against direct marketing to patients regarding a certain procedure, but it does set unreal expectations when you see a paid TV model walking in fancy shoe post operatively. 

Danniyal Shahid MD, DPM