There are over 100 different procedures for bunions, but they generally include an incision in the side or top of the joint in the big toe followed by realigning or removing bone and/or tissue, notes WebMD. The purpose is to align the joint normally and to alleviate pain.
Doctors administer regional anesthetic affecting only the foot for most types of bunion surgery, and the procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, according to WebMD. Wires, screws and plates secure the bones in the proper position. The procedure generally takes at least an hour.
The various types of bunion surgery differ in their alteration to the bone and tissue of the toe, as stated by WebMD. Some procedures take part of the metatarsal head out, as this is the section of the foot that protrudes. Other procedures realign the ligaments around the joint in the big toe, and others make minuscule cuts in the bones of the toe, moving them into a more typical position. Some procedures involve fusing a joint, either the big toe joint or the joint where the metatarsal bone meets the middle of the foot. Implants are available for the surgeon to insert, replacing some or all of the toe with an artificial joint.