Lapiplasty Bunion Surgery
At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we’re always trying to give our patients better, convenient, and more effective treatment options to fix their foot problems while reducing the impact on their day-to-day lives.
We prioritize advanced non-surgical procedures over surgery, when appropriate. And we also offer better, more advanced surgical options than traditional techniques for those times when a more aggressive approach is needed.
Lapiplasty bunion correction surgery is a great example. Compared to more conventional bunion surgery procedures, Lapiplasty has many significant advantages:
- Superior anatomical correction at the origin of the deformity
- Faster return to weight-bearing activity
- Much lower risk of bunion recurrence later in life
While we always want to help people avoid surgery if we can, Lapiplasty is an excellent choice for those who need surgery and want the fastest, best, and most reliable results.
What Makes Lapiplasty Different?
A bunion is so much more than a bump on the side of your foot.
In most cases, the fundamental instability that causes a bunion is located at the joint at the base of the first metatarsal, near the middle of your foot. When this joint becomes unstable, the metatarsal becomes misaligned in three planes (3D). The bone moves upward and outward, but it also rotates.
Conventional bunion surgeries generally only address the first two planes (2D). The metatarsal is cut, shifted, and shaved—which is actually taking a straight bone and making it crooked. Meanwhile, the true origin of the instability at the base of the metatarsal bone is still misaligned.
Although many patients do experience good results—at least in the short-to-medium term—the fact is that traditional bunion surgery is only a workaround that doesn’t correct the true deformity. This means the risk of bunion deformity recurrence is fairly high.
By comparison, Lapiplasty is a procedure that provides complete anatomical correction for your foot, restoring proper alignment in all three planes (3D) of the joint misalignment while permanently securing the unstable joint at the midfoot, so the deformity does not reoccur.
A key to the Lapiplasty procedure is the use of newer, more advanced hardware that not only creates a stable and secure position, but allows for the slight micro motion needed at the healing site to stimulate your body’s natural bone healing process. This allows for early weight bearing in a walking boot, and makes the overall recovery period shorter and less intrusive in your day-to-day life!
How Is Lapiplasty Performed?
Lapiplasty makes use of precise incisions and specialized tools to fully correct your bunion and stabilize your foot while minimizing the impact to healthy skin and tissue.
A special positioning tool is used to rotate and reposition the entire metatarsal back into its correct anatomical alignment, then hold it there securely, before any cuts to the bone are made. From there, a guide tool is used to ensure all necessary cuts to repair the unstable midfoot joint are precisely and optimally made.
Once this joint is repaired, another tool is used to compress and hold it together while low-profile, highly durable titanium plates are inserted to hold it in place permanently. Because the unstable joint that causes the bunion isn’t supposed to move, fixing it in this way will not have any noticeable negative effect on your ability to walk, run, or jump normally after you’ve fully recovered.
To ensure absolute correction, the entire procedure is completed with the assistance of in-surgery fluoroscopic guidance at multiple checkpoints throughout the process. Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of an object.
What Can I Expect After Surgery?
Most people do not require any casting after a Lapiplasty procedure.
You should be able to return to weight-bearing activity very quickly, especially when compared to other procedures. Some people are back on their feet in a walking boot in as little as a few days, although others may need up to 2 weeks. You can expect to be back in your regular shoes in about 6-8 weeks.
For everyday walking during this period, a simple, low walking boot is normally used.
Although Lapiplasty is less invasive than many other types of surgical procedures, it’s still very important to follow all our post-operative instructions carefully. We’ll give you detailed guidelines for how and when you can return to various activities, and what you need to do to make sure your recovery is as fast and problem-free as possible.
Long-term results after Lapiplasty are extremely positive. Studies have shown that bunion surgeries that do not correct the metatarsal in three dimensions (which includes most conventional osteotomies) are up to 12 times more likely to lead to bunion recurrence than surgeries that do provide 3D correction (like Lapiplasty).
There’s No Need to Keep Suffering From Bunion Pain
At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we have you covered with a multitude of effective options to deal with a bunion at any stage of development.
It is possible to treat the root cause of a mild bunion with custom orthotics. At Sierra Foot & Ankle, we prescribe and fit our patients with cutting-edge Go 4-D custom printed orthotics. Many times, the custom orthotics will correct the joint instability that caused the bunion, and the bunion pain symptoms may resolve on their own.
If additional treatment is needed to calm painful symptoms, our office can provide a variety of advanced conservative treatments, such as:
- Ultrasound-guided steroid or AmnioFix injections
- MLS laser therapy
- Natural Rx supplements
The root cause of a more severe bunion may not be fully corrected with custom orthotics. In these cases, the Lapiplasty procedure is an elegant and extremely effective solution that not only allows a quick return to activity, but consistent long-term results. Dr. Melhuish is a board-certified podiatric surgeon who will evaluate your deformity with digital X-rays, including views which will evaluate the rotational component of your deformity, and explain how this procedure can benefit you.
Either way, you should never hesitate to contact us about your bunion—no matter how small or large it is currently. Not treating a bunion WILL cause arthritis and joint damage eventually, so the sooner you seek help, the more and better treatment options you will have, and the better able you will be able to prevent future complications.
Reach out today by calling (775) 783-8037, or requesting an appointment online.