When patients are suffering from a painful foot condition, no one ever wants to have surgery because they think it means even more time off their feet in recovery, however, in some cases it's the best way to resolve issues that affect your feet and other parts of the body. Today, podiatrists and physicians prefer to perform minimally invasive surgeries instead of traditional open surgeries.
There are a number of benefits to minimally invasive surgeries that improve the experience and outcome for patients. Your New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare will provide you with the best advice to address your particular foot problem and if necessary, minimally invasive foot surgery.
How is minimally invasive surgery different from traditional foot surgery?
In traditional surgery, a patient’s body is opened up to allow the surgeon to access the part of the body that needs to be repaired. Podiatric surgeons may need to create incisions in the foot as long as three to six inches to reach the bones, muscles, and tendons that need to be repaired for many conditions and injuries that affect the feet and ankles. Opening the body to this degree increases the risk of infection, scarring and often requires an extended recovery time. Minimally invasive surgery, on the other hand, is performed through a couple of small incisions, and in some cases, foot surgery may be performed without making an incision at all.
Minimally invasive surgery is performed using specially designed instruments, similar to the tiny instruments used by jewelers, which are inserted into the body through small incisions made through the skin directly to bone to help correct deformities without damaging the soft tissue.
The surgeon uses a technique called fluoroscopy to see inside the body without having to open it up. Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that is performed by injecting a contrast dye into the body and then passing a continuous x-ray beam through the body. The images are sent to a video monitor set up in the operating room. The surgeon is able to complete complicated and delicate procedures without exposing the patient to any unnecessary risks.
What does minimally invasive surgery treat?
Minimally invasive surgery can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions that affect the feet. Your foot doctor will do his or her best to treat your condition without surgery. However, in situations where your condition will be most effectively treated with an operation, your foot doctor will opt for minimally invasive surgery whenever it is possible. Foot conditions such as bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs, ankle injuries, dropped metatarsals and toe nail fungus.
Bunions are bony lumps that form on the joint of the big toe and the rest of the foot. They can cause significant pain and mobility issues. While in some cases, bunions may be treated with conservative methods such as orthotics, in some cases the joint will need to be realigned via a minimally invasive surgery.
Hammertoes are caused by tightness and an imbalance in the tendons that cause the second toe to bend over the other toes. Physical therapy is one approach to realign the bones, tendons and muscles in the foot. However, minimally invasive surgery may be the best option to realign the toe, reducing pain and improving mobility issues.
Heel spurs are caused by an over stretching of the plantar fascia which runs along the bottom of the foot. These calcium deposits are not painful on their own, but can lead to tears and damage to the plantar fascia that can cause significant pain and mobility issues. While exercises and stretching can provide relief, minimally invasive surgical techniques can be used to treat the heel spurs by removing the calcium deposits.
Ankle injuries can often be treated with splints, braces, physical therapy and rest. However, when more conservative treatment methods are not effective or the injury is severe, minimally invasive surgery may provide the fastest and most effective treatment for an injury. Similarly, with dropped metatarsals, a quick and effective surgery performed through minimally invasive techniques may provide the most effective repositioning of the bone.
What is recovery like following minimally invasive surgery?
Recovery from minimally invasive surgery is usually quicker and less painful than in a traditional open surgery. Depending on the condition, many patients are back on their feet within a few days following a minimally invasive procedure. Due to the small size of the incision, patients will have stitches for about a week, experience less pain during recovery, and are left with no visible scarring.
What are the risks and benefits of fluroscopic minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery provides a number of benefits to patients including quicker recovery times, no visible scarring, minimal time with stitches, less bleeding, less pain, and less anesthesia.
While surgery is often a last resort for treating conditions that cause pain in the feet and ankles, podiatrists will suggest minimally invasive surgery whenever possible to provide a better patient outcome without the risks associated with a traditional open surgery. While there are some risks associated with any kind of surgery, including minimally invasive techniques, compared to an open surgical procedure, the risks are significantly reduced.
There are some risks associated with fluoroscopy that patients will want to discuss with their foot doctor. For instance, some patients may have an allergic reaction to the dye used during the procedure, so it's essential that patients discuss any allergies and medications being taken prior to the surgery.
Some patients may have concerns about the amounts of radiation used during the procedure. Patients will need to discuss the medical history in detail so the doctor is aware of any previous radiation exposure during CT scans or other imaging tests. Pregnant women are not advised to agree to prolonged exposure to radiation.
If you're suffering from a painful condition affecting your feet or ankles, talk to your trusted New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare about your treatment options and whether or not minimally invasive surgery will be an effective form of treatment.
The podiatrists at Nagy Footcare are dedicated to providing the best possible care to their patients. Patients can count on the most appropriate treatment to address their concerns quickly and efficiently.
At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.