When it comes to the removal and treatment of orthopedic issues such as bunions, heel spurs, hammertoes, and more, minimally invasive surgery is one of the best ways to ease a patient’s pain while allowing them to return to their normal life as soon as possible. With minimal time spent in surgery and a relatively fast and painless recovery period, minimally invasive surgery is a game changer in the field of orthopedic health.

Now for the history of minimally invasive surgery: it is not a new practice, but it has come a long way since its early days in the 20th century and has forever changed how medical issues like bunions are treated. 

Early Bunionectomies

In 1836, Dr. Gernet was the first to attempt a surgical bunion removal. In an attempt to remove the bony lump on the foot, he removed the bone; this method was unsuccessful. A safe and effective surgical procedure for bunions would not be completed until nearly 50 years later, when Dr. Reverdin removed a piece from the big toe joint to treat a bunion in 1881 (which later became known as the Hohmann Osteotomy). While this allowed patients in the late 1800s and early 1900s to undergo surgery for the safe and effective removal of bunions, this surgical method was not without flaw. In addition to the high risk of complications due in part to underdeveloped medical practices at the time, this surgery was quite painful and left many patients unable to resume daily activities such as walking, running, and standing for long periods of time, even once a painful bunion was removed. 

Throughout the mid-20th century, technology was developed that made minimally invasive surgery for the removal of bunions possible, including equipment that allowed surgeons to view the inside of a foot without exposing the surgery site.

In the 1970s, Dr. Robert A. Nielsen founded Northwest Surgery Center. A pioneer in minimally invasive orthopedic surgery, Dr. Neilsen successfully completed NWSC’s first-ever minimally invasive procedure in the 1970s – since then, thousands of successful procedures have been completed in our office. 

As technology advanced throughout the end of the 20th century and numerous intellectual discoveries were made in the field of orthopedic care, strides were made in minimally invasive surgery that allowed such procedures to become as fast, safe, and efficient as they are today.

Today, Northwest Surgery Center is proud to be recognized as a certified Ambulatory Surgery Center that specializes in minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of common orthopedic issues such as bunions. 

During a minimally invasive surgical procedure at NWSC, patients are treated in one of many modern surgery suites where only the latest technologies and equipment are used. Under local anesthesia, a small incision is made in the foot and a specially designed surgical instrument is inserted into this incision. The entire procedure is performed through this tiny opening. At the surgery’s conclusion, a small bandage is used to protect the micro surgery area. The entire procedure – including pre-op preparation and post-op recovery – takes less than 90 minutes. 

Recovery from minimally invasive surgery is typically easy and virtually painless. Patients can drive themselves home from surgery and will have to wear a special, post-operative shoe for about 3-4 weeks. Minimally invasive bunion surgery is a great option for those who want to ease pain quickly and return to work, school, or other activities without having to worry about a long and strenuous recovery period after undergoing a procedure.

Minimally invasive surgery is one of the fastest, safest, and easiest ways to remove issues such as bunions. To learn more about the history of minimally invasive surgery and bunion removal, contact Northwest Surgery Center today.