Dr. Oz and Judge Marilyn do not know about minimally invasive bunion surgery

On a recent episode, Dr. Oz interviewed Judge Marilyn, of the People's Court, about her Bunion surgery that was performed eight weeks earlier. After eight weeks, Judge Marilyn was still using a Cam Walker, which is a stiff boot that covers the foot and goes to just below the knee. She said that, as recently as three weeks earlier, she was still in excruciating pain, following what apparently was conventional, traditional, hospital surgery to remove the bump and reposition the joint.

Dr. Oz then went on to demonstrate how the bump is removed using a very large mock up of a foot. He showed how a long incision is made in the skin and soft tissues in order to peel back the skin and tissue to expose the bone. He and Judge Marilyn then used an actual saw to remove the bump, not totally unlike what would be done in the hospital, although it was somewhat exaggerated. He also assured the audience that (conventional hospital) bunion surgery is very painful.

Unfortunately he did not discuss the fact that there is an alternative to painful conventional hospital surgery. It is called Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery.

With Minimally Invasive Surgery for Bunions, Local Anesthetic by Toronto, Ontario Podiatrist Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M., the bump is removed and the joint is realigned, just like in traditional surgery. However, instead of making a long incision and peeling back the soft tissues with traditional instruments, specialized instrumentation is used to work through  very small openings in the skin. The specialized instrumentation and small openings result in much less soft tissue trauma which usually results in minimal postoperative discomfort and swelling compared to traditional hospital surgery. Most patients will only need Aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen postoperatively. Unlike Dr. Oz' video demonstration, it is usually not necessary to leave screws in the foot.

Judge Marilyn also made two interesting comments.

The first comment was that this is the second time she had bunion surgery on her right foot. She had previous right bunion surgery performed 20 or 30 years ago just to have the bump removed. The joint and bone were not realigned. In my opinion, this is why the bunion came back and she had to have this surgical procedure redone. With the more recent procedure, she had the joint and first metatarsal realigned.

This is why, when a patient asks me if I can just remove the bump instead of realigning the bone, I recommend against it. It is better to do the procedure properly, in order to prevent reoccurrence.

The second comment was that Judge Marilyn said, there is no way she will ever have her left bunion surgery performed. This is why, orthopedic surgeons who perform traditional surgery, often recommend that you do both feet at the same time, because the postoperative recovery can be so painful, that you are unlikely to want to have the other foot done at a later date.

In my opinion, it is better to do one foot at a time since you can begin to walk immediately. Walking aids the circulation and helps to avoid postoperative problems. With minimally invasive bunion surgery, performed in a podiatrists office, with local anesthetic, most patients do not hesitate to have the second foot done at a later date.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Oz and Judge Marilyn did not know about Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery. Judge Marilyn could have had reduced postoperative discomfort and disability, and Dr. Oz could have educated his audience about the minimally invasive bunion surgery alternative.

If you, or a loved one, suffer from bunions, hammertoes or crooked toes, or bone spurs in Toronto or the surrounding area, call my Toronto foot clinic to set up an appointment so that I can explain how you can be helped with minimally invasive foot surgery.