Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) involves performing surgical procedures through small incisions under image guidance. Traditional open surgeries involve incisions that can be anywhere from a few to several centimeters long as well as more extensive deeper dissection. MIS surgery is typically done through incisions that are only a few millimeters long, often referred to as percutaneous or keyhole incisions.
Smaller incisions have the potential for several benefits: less pain and stiffness, quicker recovery, lower risk of infection and better cosmesis. Additionally, because there is less disruption to the deeper soft tissues, healing is often faster and the time to weightbearing can be dramatically reduced compared to traditional open methods.
Minimally invasive surgery has been popularized in Europe for the past 10+ years, but the technology has only recently become available in the United States. Given the technical demands of the surgery, only a small number of foot and ankle surgeons nationwide have had formal training in this technique.
Dr. Gupta is one of a handful of foot and ankle surgeons nationwide with training in minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery
What are the applications in foot and ankle surgery?
In the past several years, surgeons across Europe have been using minimally invasive techniques for a variety of foot and ankle conditions with excellent success. These techniques are now gaining popularity in North America since the results have been so good. These techniques can be used to treat a variety of conditions:
Metatasalgia (pain at the balls of feet)
Hallux rigidus (big toe arthritis)
How is Minimally Invasive Bunion Correction different?
Traditional bunion surgery involves making open incisions around the big toe to allow osteotomies (cutting of the bone) to correct the improperly aligned bones. For many years, the way to accomplish this involved making bigger open and stripping the soft tissues away to give access to the bones. Because of the soft-tissue stripping, traditional open bunion surgery typically requires the patient to be non-weightbearing with crutches, a knee scooter, or a walker for a minimum of 2 weeks, and often for up to 6 weeks. With minimally invasive bunion correction, the same realignment of the bone is achieved through small keyhole incisions that do not require extensive soft tissue stripping. Because of this, patients are usually allowed to start walking immediately after surgery, which significantly improves the healing time.
What are the benefits of Minimally Invasive Bunion Correction?
The most significant benefit is that patients are able to walk right away, as opposed to needing to be non-weightbearing for 2-6 weeks with traditional open methods. Patients have less pain, require minimal pain medications, have a faster return to regular shoewear and normal activities, and improved cosmesis.
Are there any downsides to Minimally Invasive Bunion Correction?
Not all bunions can be treated with minimally invasive techniques, though the large majority of them can be. Furthermore, the surgery is technically demanding and requires specialized training since this is a completely new way of performing surgery. The key to minimally invasive surgery, however, is that the same bony correction is being achieved as traditional methods. Minimally invasive surgery does not mean that your bunion is being corrected in a lesser way, it is just being fixed through smaller incisions. Dr. Gupta is one of a handful of foot and ankle surgeons nationwide with training in minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery. Call to schedule an appointment to see if this type of surgery might be right for you.