The traditional surgical treatment for bunions has been a bunionectomy, a surgical procedure. Many other quick and simple fixes for bunions exist, but they have questionable support as effective treatments for bunions. Sometimes, simple approaches like wearing wider shoes or pads inside the shoes, relieve minor bunion pain.
But for more painful bunions requiring surgery, the only option has long been a bunionectomy. However, the recovery period is extensive, often requiring at least 6 months, multiple doctor visits during that time, and sometimes continuous follow-up doctor visits for up to a year. Much of this happens because the procedure’s done freehand, and hasn’t been as precise as it needs to be to keep pain, discomfort, and recovery time to a minimum.
However, medical technology has come through with another advance called Lapiplasty. With Lapiplasty, patients begin bearing weight on their feet within just weeks. The time required for the surgery is reduced. And the overall outcome of the procedure improves because Lapiplasty allows for more consistency in producing results. It also greatly reduces the chance of the bunion recurring, which can be anywhere from 25-75% because it’s traditionally been difficult for surgeons to align the joint.
Now, surgeons can automate a three-lane bunion correction and fuse the tarsal-metatarsal joint in the right alignment. The struggle for surgeons has long been correcting the frontal plane deformity. To more effectively deal with this challenge, Lapiplasty has a positioning instrument that allows surgeons to quickly and reliably hold the metatarsal on 3 different planes. Then, a guide is used to make accurate cuts to the joint.
A traditional bunionectomy requires the surgeon to operate freehand. So, it’s easy to see why cuts haven’t been as precise as they could be.
Once the joint is ready to be fused in the proper position, Lapiplasty relies on biplanar plating. This approach allows patients to gain their ability to bear weight on their foot fast – usually in about a couple of weeks after surgery. A bunionectomy uses compression screws, which doesn’t allow patients to bear weight on their foot nearly as fast.
Now, Lapiplasty allows nearly any surgeon to precisely and easily correct a bunion with less pain and a shorter procedure time than ever before.
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