miniBunion™️ Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery: What to Know

University Foot and Ankle Institute, the leader in Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery

University Foot and Ankle Institute (UFAI) has helped develop a revolutionary minimally invasive bunion surgery system known as the miniBunion™️ Procedure.  This surgery offers patients unparalleled success due to its advanced stabilization, quick recovery, immediate weight-bearing, virtually no post-op pain or scarring compared to any previously available minimally invasive bunion surgery.

Before we fully describe the mini-Bunion procedure, here’s a short primer on bunions.

What is a bunion?

Bunions, also known as hallux valgus, are bony protrusions at the base of the big toe. They are caused by a progressive malalignment of the bones that make up the joint between the big toe and the first metatarsal (long bone of the forefoot). Ideally, the bones of your big toe would align with that first metatarsal to form a straight line that would remain straight throughout your lifetime.

But various factors can cause the joint between the first metatarsal bone and the first bone of the big toe to gradually veer outward over time. The bony bump that forms is akin to slowly bending a slender branch to form a V or chevron shape. The point of that V is the protruding bunion bump as the metatarsal drifts outward while the big toe drifts inward, pointing toward the little toe.

Nina discusses her miniBunion™️ procedure and painless recovery.

What are the common symptoms of a bunion (hallux valgus)?

As the bunion bump rubs against the shoe, the resulting pressure causes the overlying soft tissue to thicken. Redness, pain, calluses, and inflammation develop from constant shoe compression and friction. These symptoms can alter the way you step and cause the abnormal load to be placed on two tiny bones (the sesamoid bones) underneath the first metatarsal head.  This can lead to arthritis and a restricted range of motion at the toe joint.

With nothing to stop them, most bunion deformities progress over time. Bunion pain and arthritis typically worsen, and patients can also develop corns between the first and second toes and even clawing of the second toe due to crowding from the big toe.  They can also make existing conditions like plantar fasciitis worse and create new ones like a hammertoe, to name just a few.

What causes bunions anyway?

There are a number of factors that can cause bunions. The most common include:

  • Genetics
    If your ancestors had bunions, you’re more likely to have them as well.
  • Gender
    Though approximately 66% of bunion sufferers are women, there are plenty of men that develop them as well.
  • Structural abnormalities
    If you are missing bones, have flattened arches, a short first metatarsal, asymmetry of the legs, or prolonged healing of a foot injury, these can contribute to the development of a bunion. It’s interesting to note that bunions may occur in just one foot.
  • Pregnancy
    During pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called relaxin. This facilitates birth by relaxing the ligaments surrounding the pelvis. But relaxin also softens ligaments throughout the body, including ligaments in the foot. This can cause bones in the foot to spread and arches to fall. Both of these events can lead to bunions.
  • Bad shoe choices
    Yes, we are primarily talking about high heels. High heels cause weight-bearing to shift to the forefoot. People wearing high heels every day, or most days, can experience a gradual arch collapse over time which can contribute to bunion formation and chronic foot pain.

Why are there so many types of bunion surgery?

While there are over 40 different kinds of bunion surgeries described in the medical and podiatry literature, very few have stood the test of time. One thing that has been proven over the years is there is no “one size fits all” bunion surgical technique. That said, you’d be surprised to know how many bunion surgeons perform only one type of surgery because that’s their only comfort level. 

For years, podiatrists and foot and ankle surgeons have been performing a surgical procedure they call “minimally invasive bunion surgery” that features a tiny incision. Unfortunately, most of these surgeries fail because they don’t use any hardware to secure the re-positioned bone that’s required to correct a bunion. Without hardware fixation, the bone just slips out of alignment, requiring the patient to return again, but this time for another more invasive bunion surgery (called a bunion revision).

Bottom line: most minimally invasive bunion treatments have essentially been a crapshoot… until now.

Our miniBunion™️ surgery ticks all the boxes as the ideal bunion surgery. Here’s why.

Known for turning vision into practice, Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS and the team at the University Foot and Ankle Institute have led the field in developing a minimally invasive surgery system that finally offers a lasting result with shorter surgery times, minimal incision size, shorter recovery time, preservation of joint motion and minimal pain.

The key to success is our specially designed hardware

An essential component of our miniBunion™️ minimally invasive bunion surgery is the specially designed hardware used to stabilize the bone realignment. Known as the Crossroads miniBunion™️ system, it consists of a titanium plate that spans both ends of the newly re-aligned metatarsal bone and is fastened by screws to both bone segments (the head and shaft). 

This system provides critical structural reinforcement to ensure that the correct bone alignment will be permanently maintained. The miniBunion™️ system features an extraordinarily low-profile plate and flat-headed screws, or the non-metal Ossiofiber screws which, over time, actually turn into human bone. This ensures our patients won’t not only notice their presence, but it eliminates the need for hardware removal down the road.

Recovering from our miniBunion™️ surgery is finally a walk in the park

A key benefit of our miniBunion™️ surgery is that it enables an immediate walking recovery because of our specially designed plate and screw. Our patients are also able to promptly begin range of motion exercise therapy to prevent the big toe from getting stiff.

Another huge advantage of the miniBunion fixation system is that our patients have minimal pain during recovery because the hardware holds the re-positioned bones firmly in place during healing. Less bone micro-movement means less pain during recovery. In fact, hardly any of our patients require any narcotics pain killers after surgery: most just ice and elevate their foot and take Tylenol.

Full recovery is usually accomplished after 4 to 6 weeks in the postop boot. The need for physical therapy is often minimized or eliminated altogether. All of this adds up to an earlier return to normal daily activities as compared to traditional bunion removal approaches.

MiniBunion™️, a practically perfect process

Although the miniBunion™️ system may not be optimal for larger bunions or patients with very loose joints, it is ideal for a large majority of bunion deformities.

If you are experiencing bunion pain, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our foot and ankle surgeons to see if the miniBunion™️ procedure is right for you.

Why choose University Foot and Ankle Institute for minimally invasive bunion surgery?

If you are experiencing bunion pain, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our foot and ankle surgery experts to see if the miniBunion™️ procedure is the right bunion correction treatment option for you. We’re always here to help.

Our nationally recognized board-certified foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. Our foot surgeons are leaders in the research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online now.

At University Foot and Ankle Institute, we take our patients’ safety seriously. Our clinics’ and surgery centers’ Covid-19 patient safety procedures exceed all CDC recommendations. Masks are required in our institutes at all times.

We are conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area as our foot doctors are available at locations in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Northridge, Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Granada Hills, and Valencia California, to name a few.

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