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Footnotes / Blog

Bunion Surgery: Part 1

Monday, August 2nd, 2010 Kenneth Donovan

When patients see me for consultation for their bunions, they usually believe that all I have to do is “shave the bump off”. While a bumpectomy is a recognized procedure in the podiatric world, usually its only reserved for the mildest of cases, or the elderly. Of course we recommend that all patients first try conservative care including paddings, strappings, and wider shoegear before considering any surgery.

The term used for shaving the bump is called a Silver Bunionectomy. It was first performed at the turn of the 20th century. So it’s been around for about 100 years. Although simple and easy to perform (with a fast recovery time of 2 weeks), it most often fails to completely correct a moderate bunion. In which case, the deformity reappears in a few years, leaving the patient with unsatisfactory results.

In the 1920’s and 30’s a procedure was added to the Silver Bunionectomy, in hopes to “beefing” up the correction of the bunion deformity. This new procedure was called a McBride Bunionectomy. In addition to taking the bump off, a soft tissue tendon balancing procedure was performed. This helped to straighten out the big toe, giving a more satisfactory result to patients over the long term. However, it would still produce inadequate results for moderate bunion deformities.

It was not until the 1950’s that a procedure known as the Austin Bunionectomy would come to revolutionize bunion surgery today.