Lapiplasty Bunion Surgery

Updated 6/27/2023

A bunion is a structural deformity in the foot that causes a bony bump to form at the base of the big toe. While there are conservative treatments that can slow the progression of a bunion, surgery is the only way to “fix” the deformity.


Research shows that 33% of patients who have undergone traditional bunion surgery are left dissatisfied. What’s more, 70% of those unsatisfied patients had their painful bunions (hallux valgus) return. With decades of experience, our surgical team is successfully putting an end to this painful condition with Lapiplasty® 3D bunion correction.

What is Lapiplasty?

Until the advent of the Lapiplasty procedure (a 3D correction), surgeons approached bunion correction by cutting the bone in half and pushing the top part over to reduce the appearance of the bump. Although this is a successful procedure for some bunions, other bunions require more advanced procedures to correct the bunion at its core.


The result of this common misconception: the appearance of a bump disappeared. The problem is that this technique does not address the root of the problem, which is an unstable joint.


Lapiplasty, considered the next-generation Lapidus Bunionectomy, uses patented instrumentation to manipulate the deviated bone back to its original position without cutting the bone, naturally realigning the foot and straightening the big toe, and alleviating the bump and accompanying pain.


Once proper alignment is achieved, Lapiplasty uses innovative bone fixation technology to secure the bones.


Lapiplasty Bunion Surgery Before and After Picture


How does Lapiplasty work?

At University Foot and Ankle Insitute, the surgeon uses 3D imaging (medically known as C-arm CT) to design and perform the surgery on your metatarsal bone. This technique allows crystal-clear images to observe the intricacies of the foot and ankle during surgery.


These 3D images aid the surgeon with clearly seeing each joint in the foot and ankle to can identify any alignment problems and determine how best to correct them.


It’s important to address the structural problems beneath the surface of the foot with advanced fixation technology. With the high-quality images in hand, our surgeons utilize the Lapiplasty 3D bunion correction to do just that by correcting all three dimensions of your toe joint.



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What are the benefits of Lapiplasty bunion correction? 

There are several reasons that doctors are using this innovative technique. These include:

  • Low recurrence rate: almost 99% maintain the 3D correction after 17 months.
  • Quicker recovery time. In many cases, patients are weight-bearing within a few days of their surgery instead of bearing no weight for 7 - 9 weeks that comes with traditional bunion surgery.
  • Reduces operative time and decreases patient exposure to anesthesia.
  • Far less pain than traditional bunionectomy.
  • Lower risk of post-operative infection.
  • Cosmetically less scarring.
  • No external pins and wires, which reduces the chances of infection.
  • Advanced techniques cause less soft tissue to be surgically disturbed, which reduces pain and swelling, as well as facilitates a more rapid return to daily activities.
  • No long-term need for a scooter, wheelchair, or crutches to remain mobile.



Lapiplasty FAQs

What happens prior to Lapiplasty surgery?

Prior to surgery, a comprehensive assessment and plan are made for the surgery. The surgery is performed outpatient at a surgery center. The patient is given light sedation, which allows them to sleep without the need for general anesthesia, and the foot is anesthetized without pain.


What is Lapiplasty surgery recovery?

At the end of the surgery, the foot is dressed and placed in a boot. Immediate weight bearing is allowed in a majority of cases. 

The bunion correction protocols we helped develop result in an essentially painless recovery. The overwhelming majority of our patients rarely take more than one or two prescribed pain pills following surgery and can manage their post-op pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. And with decades of surgical experience, our surgeons use plastic surgery closure techniques that result in minimal to no scarring.


The patient is seen 5 days after surgery, and the foot is checked. Sutures are often removed, and the patient is allowed to bathe and get the foot washed. Range of motion exercises are begun, and the foot is kept in a boot for 4-6 weeks post-surgery. 


Depending on the occupation, most patients return to work within 5 days. However, if you are doing work that requires standing for long periods, it may be between 4-6 weeks until you can safely return to work.


After 3-4 months post-surgery, most patients can resume regular and high-impact activities.


Will lapiplasty surgery change my shoe size?

In most cases, foot width will decrease, resulting in improved shoe wear. The foot width will narrow with realignment and correction of the metatarsal bone. And the good news is with the reduction of the bunion deformity, you will now be able to wear the shoes of your choice comfortably!


Lapidus Bunionectomy vs. Lapiplasty, what’s the difference?

Unlike the traditional Lapidus bunionectomy, which is more difficult to use to correct the bone in all three planes, the Lapiplasty procedure addresses all three dimensions of the bunion by rotating the entire affected metatarsal bone back into normal alignment and securing it.


Can I have Lapiasty after a failed bunion correction procedure?

Yes, we have successfully performed the lapiplasty procedure on patients with a failed traditional bunion surgery. The Lapiplasty procedure fixes the root cause of the bunion which makes for a successful outcome and almost no chance of reoccurrence. 


When can I drive after Laiplasty surgery?

If the surgery was on your right foot, it will be 5 days before you can drive. However, if the surgery was on your left foot, we can get our patients driving as soon as you are comfortable keeping the foot down. 


Is Lapiplasty surgery covered by insurance?

While most insurance policies cover Lapiplasty, you will need to work with your provider to determine your level of coverage.


What happens if I do nothing about my bunion?

Early-stage bunion deformities will almost always get worse over time. Bunion progression cannot be stopped. Over time, your bunions will cause increased swelling, which causes more pain and will appear more pronounced as well. Other complications include osteoarthritis, bursitis, and crossover toe.


Why trust UFAI with your Lapiplasty foot surgery?

Lapiplasty Before and after image, University Foot and Ankle Institute
Before and After image of UFAI Lapiplasty bunion surgery patient.

University Foot and Ankle Institute is proud to be a leading organization in the research, education, and advancement of the Lapidus bunionectomy and a leading organization offering the Lapiplasty procedure as an option to our patients.


Our podiatrists treat you as an individual, not as just another patient. In creating a bunion treatment plan, we take into account your physical activities, profession, and what you expect to see as the result of our treatment. 


The bottom line is that our physicians, recognized worldwide for their skills, only use bunion surgery as a last resort. Most of our innovative treatment options are not surgical but more conservative ways to relieve your troubled feet.


We understand that your time is valuable, so when your doctor requires a more detailed look at your feet, we don’t ask you to go anywhere else. UFAI owns its own MRI, X-ray, and CT scan equipment.


Also, we have physical therapists on-site, which streamlines your recovery and allows our doctors to stay abreast of your recovery.



Expert Lapiplasty near me 

UFAI maintains eight convenient podiatry offices for your foot care. Santa Monica, El Segundo/Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles/Mid-Wilshire, Sherman Oaks, Westlake Village, Northridge/Granada Hills, and Valencia.

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