If you have a painful bunion and you’ve been exploring treatment options, you may be wondering: what is Lapiplasty®? Well, Lapiplasty® is a brand-new procedure that uses innovative technology to correct the reasons bunions form, keeping them from returning. And, to understand why that’s so important—and why we choose to perform this procedure at our Medford, OR podiatry practice—you first need to understand why bunions form in the first place.
Why Do Bunions Form?
The bony bump of a bunion forms when your big toe shifts inward toward its neighboring toes, pushing its base outward beyond the silhouette of your foot. In addition to a bump, you may also notice:
- Redness, soreness and swelling around your joint
- Consistent or intermittent pain
- Restricted mobility in the toe
While many people think that wearing high heels gives you bunions, that’s not usually true. (Although they can make an existing bunion worse.) Instead, bunions are often hereditary, caused by structural instabilities that you inherited from your family. In some cases, injuries or arthritis can also destabilize your toe joint, causing a bunion to form.
What is Lapiplasty®? A Solution to the Problems That Cause Bunion Formation
Now that you understand why bunions form, we can explain why the Lapiplasty® procedure is superior to other forms of bunion correction. You see, this procedure corrects three elements of bunion deformities:
- It stops your metatarsal bone from leaning in and the big toe from pushing on the other toes.
- The procedure also stops the bone from rotating, which is important since that rotation can lead to pain and even arthritis.
- Finally, Lapiplasty® keeps your bone from arching upward, further relieving pressure on the other toes.
Because it corrects three different elements of the bunion deformity, we call this procedure a “3D” surgery that also stabilizes your joint, ensuring that the bunion won’t return. On its own, this is a major advantage. But Lapiplasty® offers further advantages over traditional bunionectomies, because we perform this procedure using a special, patented instrument that increases surgical accuracy and minimizes the size and number of incisions to your foot. And, because the procedure offers both superior stabilization and minimal invasiveness, patients will see major benefits when it comes to the post operative experience.
Unlike with traditional bunion surgeries, where you must wait as long as six weeks to bear weight after the operation, most patients can start bearing weight on their affected foot just two or three days after Lapiplasty® surgery. Now, during that time, you will be in a walking boot—and that will stay on for between six and eight weeks, while your bone fully heals from the procedure. After you’ve healed, you’ll be able to start wearing supportive athletic shoes and resume all your regular activities, except for high impact sports or workouts, which you should avoid for approximately four months after surgery.
Why is Lapiplasty® better than regular bunion surgery?
As we discussed earlier, Lapiplasty® is a superior form of bunion correction because it removes the bony bump while addressing the root cause of your bunions, realigning your toe bone in all the critical dimensions. At the same time, the procedure is more accurate and less invasive than a bunionectomy, which has allowed patients to shorten their recovery time and bear weight on their feet far sooner after surgery—in as few as two days!
Even better? With bunionectomies, there was always the concern that the bunion could return. Patients had to wear custom orthotics to prevent recurrences, but the risk was still present. Now, thanks to the new, 3D approach to bunion correction, along with the built-in joint stabilization that’s part of the procedure, we can consider Lapiplasty® a permanent bunion solution, leaving patients with very low chance of recurrence after surgery.
How is a Lapiplasty® performed, exactly?
When we perform the new, patented Lapiplasty® Procedure, we use specially-designed instruments that can easily rotate your metatarsal bone back into the correct position. This immediately and naturally straightens out your big toe while getting rid of that unsightly bump—along with all the pain, swelling and limits on mobility that it may have caused.
Once the bone is in its correct position, we use plates designed with cutting-edge technology to permanently stabilize the bone, so that we solve the underlying weaknesses that allowed your bunion to form in the first place. Within days of your procedure, you should be able to bear weight with just a walking boot instead of a cast. Within eight weeks, you should be out of that boot and back into your supportive athletic shoes!
How long does Lapiplasty® bunion surgery take?
While the word “surgery” is intimidating, Lapiplasty® is actually an outpatient procedure—meaning you won’t have to stay overnight in a hospital. And it usually lasts about an hour, unless you are undergoing additional procedures at the same time.
Is Lapiplasty® surgery painful?
You will receive anesthesia for your procedure, so you will not experience any discomfort during the surgery. Because of the innovative approach to bunion correction, discomfort after your procedure is minimal, and clearly reflected by your early ability to bear weight.
Still, in the first few days after your surgery, you should try and rest your foot whenever you can, limiting your activities as much as possible. While every patient will have different post-operative care instructions, you can support your at-home recovery by icing your foot regularly, and gently wiggling your toe—according to our instructions—in order to keep scar tissue from forming. We will likely prescribe pain medication, and you should take your doses according to the directions, in order to avoid discomfort.
What is Lapiplasty®? Your Permanent Bunion Solution in Medford, OR
Ready to wear the shoes you love without any pain or rubbing? Do you want to feel confident about showing off your feet? That is now possible—without the pain and extended recovery time of a traditional bunionectomy. All you have to do is reach out to our office and schedule a Lapiplasty® consultation today!