In the news

June 6, 2020

Minimally invasive bunion surgery makes recovery easier and much less painful

Vienna Skinner, a 25-year-old substitute teacher and coach from Dumfries, Virginia, experienced pain from a bunion on and off for about three years. As a youth basketball and volleyball coach and a player herself, this was often an issue, and it gradually got worse.

“At first I would do something active and then it would hurt for a bit, but then it got to the point where my whole foot — my toe and the bottom of my foot and leg — would hurt for days after I was active,” Vienna says.

Vienna decided to seek medical advice and spoke with Oliver N. Schipper, MD, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic and Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. Dr. Schipper explained that her bunion would need surgery and he could perform a new, minimally invasive procedure that would make recovery easier with less pain, less swelling, an overall cosmetic improvement and no stiffness.

“With traditional bunion surgery, patients usually complain about two things after surgery: pain and stiffness,” says Dr. Schipper. “With this new minimally invasive option, it’s the same surgery but is performed through small keyhole incisions that keep the joint intact. This means patients have less pain, less swelling, and they’re off narcotics much faster.”

Vienna saw Dr. Schipper in November and about a month later she underwent the minimally invasive procedure. In her past few months of recovery, she has seen the advantages of the treatment firsthand.

“Recovery has been going great,” she says. “I have been cleared for full-impact movement and have been back to running and volleyball every week without any problems! I’ve been tremendously excited about that.”

Dr. Schipper notes that making this type of recovery easier on patients is exactly the reason Inova focuses on innovative techniques such as minimally invasive bunion surgery in the first place.

“We strive to be at the forefront of medicine, and it’s procedures like this that highlight the approach we have throughout the system,” he says. “Historically, bunion surgery has been painful and uncomfortable, and this is just one example of how we’ve been able to enhance patients’ experiences by expanding our services.”