Researchers estimate about 200,000 bunion surgeries are performed annually in the U.S. The procedure can cause a significant amount of postoperative pain lasting six to eight weeks. In addition, sometimes the bones
George Holmes, Jr., M.D., Foot and Ankle Surgeon with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, co-developed a new procedure to fix bunions that doesn’t require cutting of the bone and speeds recovery. It’s called the Mini TightRope®. A tiny hole is drilled through the side of the bone leading to the big toe. Another hole is drilled through the bone leading to the second toe. Next, a special type of wire, called FiberWire®, is fed through each of the holes. The wire is very strong, yet flexible. Tiny buttons on each end of the wire keep it from slipping out of the bones. As the surgeon tightens the wire, the outer bone is slowly pulled toward the second bone, moving the toe into correct alignment. Then the wire is secured to maintain the new position of the bone while it heals.
Holmes will also rebalance the ligaments, tendons and nerves in the toe. After surgery, patients must wear a dressing and walking boot or stiff shoe. Stitches are generally taken out in two to three weeks. Holmes says most patients are pain-free within two weeks and some are able to wear shoes as soon as three weeks after the surgery. Holmes says once the supporting structures heal, they will hold the bone in position. However, to avoid another surgery, the FiberWire is left in place.
Holmes recommends that, after the foot has healed, patients be sensible about the kinds of shoes they wear. Women who want to wear high heels should limit the amount of time they keep them on. If the bunion recurs, the procedure can be repeated or the