What you should know
A bunionectomy is surgery to remove a bunion.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You could have trouble breathing or get blood clots. After surgery, you may have stiffness in your toe joint. Your big toe may not line up exactly with your other toes. You may still need to wear special shoes or inserts in your shoes after surgery. If you do not have surgery, your bunion may grow larger and the pain may get worse.
The week before surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop taking aspirin or any other blood thinning medicines before your procedure.
- Ask your caregiver before you take any over-the-counter medicine such as laxatives.
- You may need blood tests before your procedure. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
- If you are going home the same day of your surgery, plan to have an adult drive you home. Ask someone to stay with you for the first day after surgery. Plan for help at home until you are able to take care of yourself.
The night before surgery:
- You may be given a pill to take to help you sleep.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of surgery:
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of surgery. Bring a list of your medicines or the pill bottles with you to the hospital.
- Do not wear contact lenses the day of surgery. You may wear your glasses.
- If you are staying in the hospital after surgery, bring your personal belongings with you. Do not wear jewelry or bring money to the hospital.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This is the caregiver who gives you medicine to make you sleepy during surgery.
- You or a close family member may be asked to sign a consent form. It gives your caregiver permission to do a bunionectomy. Be sure all your questions have been answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
- You may be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be taken to the operating room. You may get medicine called regional anesthesia. This kind of anesthesia will make you numb below the waist or will just numb your foot. You may get general anesthesia to keep you completely asleep. You and your caregiver will decide which type is best for you.
- A tourniquet may be put on your leg just below your knee. The tourniquet will squeeze your leg during the surgery to help decrease bleeding. An incision is made in your foot. The extra bone and tissue is removed. Then the ligament that has tightened and pulled the toe inward may be cut. A ligament is a strong tissue that holds a joint together. Cutting this one ligament will help make the toe point straight ahead again. A pin, screw, or rod may be placed in your toe joint. In some cases, you may need to have your toe joint rebuilt or repaired. The incision is then closed with stitches.
You will be taken to a recovery room. You will be watched closely until you wake up. You will then be taken to your hospital room, or you may be able to go home. You will have a bulky bandage on your foot. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. If you are going home right after surgery, do not drive yourself. Have an adult drive you home. Have someone stay with you for the first day after surgery or until you can care for yourself.
Your family can wait in the waiting room until you are done with surgery. Caregivers will find them in this room to let them know how your surgery went. If your family leaves, ask them to leave a phone number where they can be reached.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery appointment on time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- The problems for which you are having surgery get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.