Minimally Invasive Foot and Ankle Surgery

What is minimally invasive Foot and Ankle Surgery 

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) treats foot and ankle conditions and deformities using very small incisions. In these procedures, your foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon uses special instruments to cut bones under X-ray guidance and inserts screws through very small incisions.

Advantages of minimally invasive surgery over traditional surgery include faster healing, smaller scars, and less stiffness. The main disadvantage is that it takes additional training and practice for your surgeon to feel comfortable performing these procedures without the traditional open visualization.

Conditions Campbell clinic treats using MIS

Minimally invasive surgery has lots of clinical uses, some treatments Campbell clinic foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons perform using MIS include:

MIS Bunion Surgery: Minimally invasive bunion surgery, also known as percutaneous bunionectomy, is a surgical procedure utilizing small incisions, to correct a bunion deformity. Through multiple small incisions on the inside of the foot, the metatarsal bone is cut and shifted. At times, an additional bone cut is required in the big toe to fully straighten the toe. Pins or screws are used to maintain correction.

MIS flatfoot or high arch correction surgery: MIS can be used as part of flatfoot or high arch foot correction to cut and shift the heel bone to get it back centered under the ankle. This can improve function and severely decrease pain in walking with patients. So, this technique allows physicians to correct the foot and ankle alignment with smaller, more soft tissue friendly techniques which is better for wound healing.

MIS to shave bony Prominences: Bony prominences are the areas of bone that are close to the skin’s surface. The prominences also known as pressure sores can lead to redness and swelling of the bony prominence, vague pain or throbbing in the midfoot and arch, usually occurring during or after periods of activity. Over time it can create pain that inhibits one’s ability to walk or exercise normally. This surgery allows foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons to shave down these prominences with smaller more soft tissue friendly techniques.

Example of a boney prominence in the foot

Recovery and return to activity

In general, the recovery is often faster from minimally invasive procedures compared to open procedures. Some weightbearing can be allowed immediately after surgery, but this depends on the procedure you are having done.

Risk and Complications  

The risks of minimally invasive surgery are similar to traditional, open surgeries, although the risks of infection and wound healing problems may be lower with minimally invasive surgery because the incisions are so small.

While the small incisions used in minimally invasive surgery can make it easier to damage unseen structures like nerves and tendons, research studies have not shown a higher rate of these injuries. With good technique and surgeon experience, these surgeries may even have lower risk compared to open surgeries. More research still needs to be done on these procedures to determine their risks and benefits relative to more traditional surgical methods.

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