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Making decisions based on facts: Bunion surgery – when is the best age?

I am always dubious about making fast decisions when treating the big toe for bunions (Hallux valgus). For that matter, I prefer my patients to observe caution, so all the facts are laid out and understood. Ponder two cases: one patient – C in her sixties and F in her twenties.

C had was recovering from her second operation on her opposite big toe. Like before she developed problems but was not dissuaded from proceeding. Slow healing, a small wound infection, swelling all took time to heal. I was pleased when we finally  reached a point when all was mended at 10 weeks. All the rules were followed, but that was just the way it was. Most patients do well, and certainly sixty plus is not a problem for age, as long as medical health is straight forward, and C’s was.

F was a delightfully independent young woman. She wanted both feet managed for a modest deformity but wanted to travel long haul to Australia 8 weeks after surgery. This raised the risk of blood clot. We can minimise this risk by limiting alcohol on the flight, a 75mg aspirin and flight socks, but not Aussie sun on wound. First you must realise, IF 2 feet are operated on together you are DISABLED! This could go on for 2-6 weeks, depending on how well you do. Reoccurrence? Yes, under 30 is more risky but not unrealistic. You can be operated on at any age but 35-45 is still my best age with least risks and optimism .




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