12/18/2012 10:41 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Bunionplasty: A Plastic Foot Surgery Craze?

Move over Rhinoplasty... comes Bunionplasty.

Thats right. Bunionplasty = plastic surgery for a bunion.

Due to the rise of cosmetic foot surgery, it's now time to don the '-plasty' suffix for the cosmetic correction of bunions. Bunionplasty can now join the ranks of rhinoplasty, abdominoplasty and blepharoplasty.

It's no surprise that women are getting their feet reconstructed because of the wear and tear of high heel and pointy-toed shoes on their feet. Today, women want their feet to not only look good but also to feel good as they continue to wear higher heels and sleeker shoes.

When considering bunionplasty, there are two important factors to consider: How surgeons keep scarring to a minimum and how the underlying bones are realigned.

How Surgeons Minimize Skin Scarring With Bunionplasty
There are three bunionplasty skin techniques, which are as follows:

  • Plastic closure: Special plastic surgery techniques are used to limit scaring. This is done by running the suture under the skin and/or using newer needle-free liquid bonding agents.
  • Hidden Incision: A popular technique to hide the incision on the inside of the foot so that the incision is not visible from the top.
  • Minimal Incision: Smaller or micro incisions are used but the big drawback of these techniques is that surgeons cannot visualize the bone very well.


How Surgeons Correct The Bones With Bunionplasty
It's not enough to make the feet just look good, they must function properly. Surgeons can do dozens of procedures to give the appearance of a corrected bunion from the skin point of view through minimal incision surgery or hiding the scars on the side of the toe. But the most important aspect of having a bunionplasty is properly realigning the bones as this will dictate function.

Most people mistakenly think that a bunion should be 'shaved,' and this is pretty much incorrect. The concept of surgically fixing bunions is actually quite simple. The deviated bone needs to be repositioned into proper alignment. Severity (size) of the bunion dictates just how this is accomplished. Smaller bunions require 'less' surgical work whereas larger bunions require 'more' advanced techniques.

Most commonly surgeons will perform either a bone cut (osteotomy) or realignment mending procedure (Lapidus Bunionectomy). Most patients are permitted to place weight on their foot after the surgery in a surgical shoe. Modern techniques have allowed surgeons to move away from casting. Whatever technique is used, bone takes about six weeks to mend.

Bunionplasty Is Here To Stay
Bunion surgery, in general, is popular in the United States, as there are nearly 400,000 performed each year. As women continue to wear high heeled and pointy-toed shoes, bunions will continue to be a problem. Most people having bunion surgery have associated pain, and this is often a requirement for most surgeons to perform foot surgery (though people seeking bunionplasty typically have some degree of pain because of the shoes that they wear put pressure on their bunion).

When considering bunionplasty, it is important to not only consider how the foot will look but also how it will function. Take the time to learn about the methods available to fix your bunion, and you will be that much better off.

-- Dr. Blitz
New York City

To learn more about Dr. Neal Blitz, please visit