Overview of toe surgery

Surgical treatments

Deformed toe conditions can be treated with several surgical procedures. The choice of a surgical method depends on the character of the condition as well as on the doctor's preferences to some extent.

The purpose of most surgical procedures is to restore foot or toe bones to their normal position as much as possible. The bone is sawed through in the designated location (a bone fraction is created) and the bone sections are repositioned. Then the bone sections are fastened together in their correct position with screws or plates. Screws and plates are positioned in a way that they would not disturb the patient, and the necessity to remove them in the future is eliminated. In addition to bone treatments, we restore the soft tissue balance around the bones: the tissues that are too tight are released and the loose ones are tightened.

Surgical treatments of toes are performed as day surgeries: the patient is admitted to the hospital for a surgical procedure and returns home on the same day.

Before the surgery

Coexisting diseases (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, onychomycosis, etc.) should be properly treated before admission to the surgical procedure.

You should inform your orthopaedist, anaesthesiologist and nurse of all the medications you are currently taking.

You may continue taking most of your daily medications according to the ongoing regimen. The medications should be taken with a small sip of water.

Administration of medications that influence blood clotting (e.g. Marevan, Plavix, Xarelto, Pradaxa) and some base medications for rheumatic diseases (e.g. biological medicines, Trexan) needs adjustment due to the surgery: please consult your general practitioner or Ortokliinik for instructions.

If you have inflammation or fever, the surgery will be postponed due to the increased risk of complications until the symptoms have resolved.

You are not allowed to drive a car or take public transportation immediately after the surgery. Therefore, you should arrange to be taken home after your surgery already before the procedure.

Patients who live alone should agree with their relatives, acquaintances or a social worker for assistance with their groceries; depending on the surgery, you are not able to go shopping for 2–8 weeks.

In the operating theatre

An intravenous cannula is inserted in your lower arm for administration of medicines. You should inform the doctor of your possible drug allergies in good time.

In case of all foot surgeries, the patient is given an intravenous antibiotic injection to avoid wound infection.

In most cases, toe surgery is performed under general anaesthesia.

Sometimes, a spinal anaesthetic is used for pain management during surgery: this makes your lower body immobile and numb but you remain conscious during the procedure.

Patients lie on their back on the operating table.

A tourniquet is placed either on the thigh or on the calf of the leg to be operated on that prevents the blood flow to the limb during the surgery. After the surgery, the tourniquet is removed and blood begins to circulate again in the limb.

The foot is cleaned with a disinfectant. The surgical site is separated from the rest of the body with sterile linens. A screen is placed in front of the eyes of the patient to shield the surgical site.

Among other instruments, electrical drill and saw are used during the surgical procedure, the noise of which may disturb the patient when spinal anaesthesia has been used for pain relief. You may request the anaesthesiologist for some sedatives to relax you during the procedure or, if agreed with the hospital staff in advance, you may take a small music player with headphones to the operation theatre.

Toe surgery usually takes about 20-50 minutes. Together with the pre- and post-surgical procedures, the patient remains in the operating theatre for 60 minutes. There are also shorter and longer surgical procedures.

After the surgery

After the surgery, the patient is taken to the recovery room to recover from anaesthesia.

The recovery from spinal anaesthesia takes a few hours after the surgery until sensation returns and you can move your legs and feet.

The patient leaves the hospital on the day of the surgery.