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Mini Tightrope Bunionectomy: Surgery Day

September 9, 2011

The day started early, to get to the hospital for the “first case” position at 7:15 a.m. I was expected to check in at 5:15. (I got there at 5:30 and no one seemed to care that I was a few minutes late.) I was not very nervous for this procedure having gone through it  approximately 4 months prior on my right foot, I felt I knew what to expect. My doctor, an orthopedic surgeon,  does this as an outpatient procedure in  a hospital. Some doctors operate in a surgical center or an office, so your experience may differ somewhat.

After registering at the hospital, and being asked  a bunch of questions such as  “when did you last eat or drink anything?, Do you take any drugs?, Who is your doctor? What operation are we doing today?”, I waited for a nurse to take me to a dressing room where I put on the surgery clothes and put all my other stuff into a plastic bag and a garment bags.  The  lovely “outfit” consists of a surgical gown (tied in the back) ,  a robe (tied in the front), a pair of socks with grippy white stuff on them, and a “jiffy-pop” cap which is stamped all over “Not for use in MRI; Not for use in MRI”. The gown is a lovely shade of purple with a very cool feature: the nurse can attach a hose  to the gown that can heat or cool the patient from a small device on the wall. The nurse then asked me the Question Set again, and sent me with another aide to the OR floor.

One family member or loved one was allowed to accompany me. Once I was lying on the gurney I got a kiss and a hug and my loved one had to leave while doctors asked me  The Question Set , and explained how the anesthesia was going to work.They put an IV in my hand, an oxygen tube in my nose (not intubation, just a thing which was like a nose plug one would use for swimming) .  They then administered a nerve block in the leg and a sedative. I had my eyes closed and heard the anesthesiologist instructing the other two doctors about some thing ( I could have done without hearing the doctors learning lessons on my body!). I remember being wheeled into the OR because I saw these three crazy looking lights  (thoughts of alien invasion briefly flitted through my mind)  but I then conked out before I could say anything.

Some time later, I woke up and, while I did not have my glasses on, I could see that I was still in the OR. The drugs must have been working well because the fact that I was AWAKE in the operating room didn’t phase me in the least. My head and torso were shielded from the rest of my body by a blue paper tent-like structure. I called out to my doctor “Hey, Doc are you there?” and he replied in the affirmative.  (Relief!!) I also asked about seeing the bone they took out of my foot, which they showed me and which looked like little crumbs in a jar. Doc said they had to restrain me from touching them.

I later learned I asked a few more questions but then I snoozed out again, and woke up groggily in the recovery area.  As soon as I was fully awake my loved one was there and a nurse, and I was able to empty my bladder (!) by riding a sit to stand transporter contraption to the restroom. My left leg was completely numb and it was actually difficult to raise it even by pulling from my hip. The nurse went over the at-home meds and care, we were escorted to the taxi stand and got  home in about 15 mnutes.

The numbness lasted all the way through Saturday evening but I suffered no nausea or other side effects from the anesthesia.


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  1. vls permalink

    Hello. I want to ask you smth. I am 24 and I play professional european footbal. I have a bonion at my right foot and it boders me aesthetically and when I wear my soccer boots as well. Can you please tell me if there are any risks for me to not be able to use my foot as weell as I do now, after bunionectomy?
    I also must say that I put a lot of presure on my foot when I change direction, when I am at full speed, when I shot the ball etc. So there is a lot of presure on my feet s centres in order to do all the moves.
    I am looking forward for your answer. Thank you.

    • Hi and thanks for reading this blog! While I don’t play soccer, I do play tennis and there are some similarities as far as quick feet go. I just started playing tennis again, and I find that there is nothing — yet– that I can’t do on the court that I didn’t used to do. However, I *DO* find that I have some hesitations that are more psychological in nature. I find myself thinking about whatever I am doing if it will hurt my feet. I anticipate that will subside as time goes by and the mini-tightropes are tried and tested as I do more and more activity. Also, I’ve been told full healing takes up to a year so you may have some time on the bench while you recuperate. Remember, that this blog is about the mini-tightrope bunionectomy which is the type I had, so I can’t speak to any other kind of bunionectomy with authority.
      I hope this helps you! Let me know what you decide to do!

  2. robie permalink

    @vls: hi, I am an orthopedic surgeon. First of all, let me thank bunyuck for this wonderful, very informative and reliable blog. Perhaps you, being a professional football player, might be interested in a Facebook page I set up on bunion surgery in athletes.

    All the best !

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