The cost of bunion surgery depends on the severity of the case. When you include the anesthesiologist fees, hospital fees, surgical center fees, pre-op fees (such as x-rays and tests), pain medication, antibiotics (to prevent infection), equipment (such as crutches or a wheelchair), and post-operative shoes; the total can run anywhere between $5,000 up to $40,000 depending on the severity of the case.
Since the actual surgery involves dissecting the foot, breaking the big toe, tightening the ligaments on the outside of the toe, and releasing the ligaments on the inside; this process requires months of healing and rehabilitation. It can take anywhere between 3 months to one year to entirely heal.
The post-surgical process includes up to 2 months on crutches. Pain can be excruciating. Months of swelling and prescribed inactivity will prevent you from performing many of your daily activities, including exercising. You also need to factor in your opportunity costs of missing work or being less productive at work.
During the surgery, the surgeon must be extremely careful when contemplating the location of the incision on the foot through which to perform the procedure. Care must be taken to avoid damaging or injuring the sensory nerve that passes along the medial or inner border of the foot, the metatarsal-phalangeal joint, and the medial aspect of the great toe. Injury or damage to this nerve can lead to permanent numbness along the incision areas as well as the potential formation of a painful Neuroma, or swollen nerve tissue.
Moving the metatarsal head is based upon a doctor’s judgment at the time of surgery. Hallux Varus is when there is over correction and the first metatarsal remains in its anatomical position, while the toe moves away from the foot, towards the middle of the body. Unfortunately, once this happens, it is difficult to repair.
After surgery, unwanted or unexpected long-term big toe stiffness can occur. This is typically the result of the body’s response to the insult of the surgical procedure. When the toe gets stiff like this, it alters your gait and can cause new problems affecting the knee, ankle, hip, and lower back.
Another post- surgical complication after bunion surgery is the possibility of infection. This can be a catastrophic problem. Wound infections develop from the migration of germs that normally inhabit the skin into the wound, where they are capable of rapidly growing. Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) are surprisingly the 4th leading cause of death in the USA. More people die in hospitals from HAI each year than AIDS, car accidents and breast cancer combined.
If you care about the way your feet look after surgery, you have to consider the fact that scaring is a reality of the surgical procedure. It can take many years for a scar to begin to fade or become less sensitive.