One of our main podiatry services here at United Foot & Ankle Surgeons (UFAS) is minimally invasive foot surgery. These procedures can be performed through extremely small incisions to correct many painful foot diseases and conditions, including bunions, hammertoes, stiff big toe, painful calluses, diabetic foot ulcerations, heel pain, warts, and much more. Additionally, minimally invasive foot surgery allow us to perform these as outpatient procedures, meaning you can go home the same day after the surgery. But what exactly is minimally invasive foot surgery and what are its benefits?
What is Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery?
Minimally invasive foot surgery refers to a type of surgery done with a very small incision that requires little or no stitching. Through these extremely small incisions, surgeons insert specially designed instruments to perform the operation. Interventions are carried out through these small incisions and they have minimal exposure to the surgical field, causing minimal or no injury to the adjacent tissue. Because of this, minimally invasive foot surgery allows us to be able to control and predict a patient’s recovery and outcome more manageable.
Minimally invasive surgery is first pioneered by Dr. Morton Polokoff in 1945, he developed these techniques as a system of sub dermal surgery using very small instruments. In the decades since then, further surgical advancements have led to the state of art procedures that we perform today, making minimally invasive surgery much safer and more comfortable for patients. However, these minimally invasive foot surgeries should be performed only by trained surgeons. They acquire these specialized surgical skills only after extensive training, continuing education, seminars, and fellowship within minimally invasive foot surgery community.
Is MIS(Minimally Invasive Surgery) an Effective Technique?
We strongly believe MIS is a very effective surgical technique. It is best summarized by one of my colleagues' website of The Coeur d'Alene Foot and Ankle Clinic and Surgery Center. It says,
"Today, ambulatory foot surgery is a developed art. Over 2,000 international physicians and surgeons specializing in this technique are members of The Academy of Ambulatory Foot and Ankle Surgery, and with each year the number increases. The triangular academy seal depicts its dedication to ambulation, rehabilitation, and education....
It is now over forty years since the original pioneers began the development of this art. They sought the means of ending discomfort and suffering for a wider cross section of the population. They reasoned that if the necessity for hospitalization and prolonged disability was eliminated, more people could afford to avail themselves of these advanced services.
As their development progressed they found that it was rarely necessary to incapacitate their patients. Painful bunions, recurring corns, heel spurs, contracted toes and hammertoes were corrected by this new technique and the patients remained ambulatory. Through the years, other interested physicians and surgeons made worthwhile contributions until we have reached today’s state of the art. Cost effective, minimal invasive foot surgery is a reality."
what are the benefits of minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive foot surgeries provide many benefits, including:
- Less injury – With minimally invasive foot surgery there is less injury to soft tissue. Compared to traditional open surgery where long incisions are made that may create more trauma to the soft tissue, minimally invasive surgery uses much smaller incisions disturbing less tissue and leading to a quicker recovery time.
- Less pain – Studies have shown that patients of minimally invasive surgery report less pain than those patients undergoing traditional surgery. As a result, patients of minimally invasive surgery require less use of pain relievers.
- Shorter surgery time – Because there is a small incision, surgery times for minimally invasive foot surgery procedures are often shorter than traditional open surgeries.
- Less anesthesia, more qualifying patients – Due to the nature of minimally invasive foot surgery procedures, patients often remain awake during surgery after careful local anesthesia to the foot area, reducing the use of general anesthesia. Therefore, what happens during these procedures is just the foot is asleep. This opens up surgery possibilities for patients who may have been previously considered at risk for traditional surgeries due to medical history.
- Less scaring – As a result of minimally invasive foot surgeries’ smaller incisions, scars left by these procedures are smaller and less noticeable. Of the scars that do form, they are often have less of a jagged edge than those left by traditional open surgeries.
We perform minimally invasive surgeries whenever possible. As these procedures may be beneficial to you, your surgeon will discuss all options prior to your surgery.
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