The brachymetatarsia surgery which is commonly known as short toe surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed in order to correct a short toe by lengthening it. First of all let us focus on what is exactly a short toe. A short toe is a condition where the bone of a single toe attains lesser growth compared to the other toe bones. This usually occurs due to disturbances in toe growth and is most common for the fourth toe. In this case, normally the toe itself is of normal length but the metatarsal bone to which the toe bone remains attached is short.
The reasons and the available treatments
A short toe is a growth problem and can be caused due to heredity; however, it is never a birth defect. This condition can also occur in people with other conditions like Downs syndrome or Pseudophypoparthyroidism. More than one toe can also be affected by the condition. This problem usually become noticeable during early childhood and it might not be related with pain always. However, most of the patients seek to treat this condition to ensure a better look of their foot, and also due to issues in wearing shoes or walking for long.
There are also some non-operative treatments available for this condition, including medications, supportive or spot stretch shoes and splints or pads to ensure more comfort within the shoes. However, the non-surgical procedures of correcting a short toe are not always effective, and in many cases Brachymetatarsia surgery is the only permanent and complete solution for the problem.
Procedure of surgery and recoverytime
The brachymetatarsia surgery can be performed in different ways. In minor cases, sliding bone-cut lengthening process is followed, whereas bone graft lengthening and external fixator lengthening procedures are followed to gain more bone length under the short toe. The recovery after the surgery usually depends on the procedure followed for the surgery and it usually varies between 6-8 weeks. In case of correction of large defects complete recovery can take as long as 3 months.
Depending on the extent of correction needed, the surgery can be performed under local, spinal or general anesthesia. Normally the surgery is performed as an outpatient process. The risks involved with brachymetatarsia surgery are the common risks that are involved with any minimally invasive surgery. However, in most of the cases, quick and painless recovery is observed when the procedure is performed by an experienced and skilled surgeon.
Author Bio: The writer of this article is an orthopedic surgeon with years of experience in performing different types of bone related surgeries. He is currently attached with one of the most renowned cosmetic foot surgery hospitals of Los Angeles.