Innovation In Technique: Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery

Published July 29, 2019

A bunion occurs when the big toe turns inwards toward the second toe and forms a bump on the foot. Bunions can be painful and disruptive to everyday and leisure activity. While not all bunions require surgery for correction, severe cases do. When necessary, treatment of a bunion through surgery is done with two goals in mind:

  1. Most importantly, to alleviate pain in and correct the deformity of the big toe
  2. Secondarily, to improve the appearance of the foot and enable the comfortable use of a variety of shoes.

Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon Dr. Steven Neufeld has begun performing a Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery (MIBS) technique that yields a less painful and shorter recovery period than traditional techniques. The main difference between traditional and minimally invasive bunion procedures is that Traditional bunion procedures are performed through large incisions over the side of the big toe. Minimally invasive surgery uses several very small incisions typically closed with a single stitch.


MIBS can reduce post-surgical scarring, swelling and pain. MIBS is an outpatient procedure done at a hospital or surgery center. Here are the top 5 benefits of minimally invasive bunion surgery:

  1. Minimal scar tissue
  2. Less post-surgical pain, scarring and swelling and faster healing.
  3. The procedure can be done under local anesthesia (similar to dentistry sedation – relaxed but not put to sleep)
  4. Less damage to the tissues crossing the big toe joint which, drastically reduces the complication of joint stiffness
  5. After the minimally invasive bunion surgery the foot is wrapped in a soft dressing; no cast & no crutches needed. The patient can walk right away in a surgical shoe, go back to work soon, drive a car, etc. Most patients transition to regular shoes by 6 weeks

Patients who have a painful bunion deformity without significant arthritis or stiff joints may be good candidates for minimally invasive bunion surgery. The patient needs to be evaluated with a physical examination and standing radiographs by a qualified foot & ankle surgeon to determine the best procedure.

Keep in mind, while the recovery time for the minimally invasive technique is expected to be far less than the traditional method, swelling in the foot is the last issue to resolve. This may take many months or even up to a year to go away completely, depending on how active the patient is after the procedure. Swelling will go down the more the foot is kept elevated. There are always risks with any surgery: infection, wound healing problems, scarring, swelling… these things, though very rare in minimally invasive surgery may occur and affect your post-operative course and outcome.

Watch this patient testimonial to hear more about the procedure.

Dr. Steven Neufeld is a fellowship trained orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon at The Foot and Ankle Center, a care center of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics. Currently, Dr. Neufeld is the only surgeon who is trained to and performs minimally invasive bunion surgery at INOVA Fairfax Medical Campus and in the northern Virginia region.