Dr. Naglers Tips about Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Photo of young woman running on the beach at sunriseMinimally Invasive (MI) surgical techniques have gained popularity in many areas of surgery. As technology has advanced, the possibilities to operate and achieve an objective with less invasive techniques have broadened.

What is minimally invasive foot surgery?

This is a surgical technique where the operation is performed through very small incisions (only a few millimetres long). This is done in contrast to traditional surgery performed through large cuts on the foot.

What are its advantages?

Minimally invasive foot surgery has perceived advantages over open surgery since smaller openings are made. Much less soft tissue work is required in order to gain access to the bone and make the bony corrections.

This may lead to:

Reduced surgical time
Less internal scarring
Less damage to tissues
Minimal external scarring –  Fewer stitches are needed
Less joint stiffness
Day-case surgery
Quicker recovery time
Faster return to work and normal activities

What foot ailments can be treated this way?

This technique is particularly useful in bunion surgery where in very small scars and better joint movement can be achieved. Big toe arthritis and other toe deformities can also be successfully treated using this technique.

Foot ailments which can be treated include:

Metatarsalgia – pain under the balls of the toes
Bone spurs
Morton’s Neuroma
Plantar Fasciitis
Big toe arthritis
Some aspects of flat  foot surgery
Some aspects of ankle arthritis surgery

How is minimally invasive foot surgery performed?

Just like in traditional surgery, the foot is numbed using an ankle block.  In most cases, 3-5mm incisions are placed in the foot to allow access for the specialist’s instruments. An x-ray machine is essential to the operation to ensure the instruments are being directed accurately, ensuring precise bony cuts and therefore, resulting to an excellent correction.

Can any foot surgeon perform this kind of surgery?

There are specific training required in minimally invasive techniques. There is also training courses. A new range of surgical instruments, not normally used in traditional open surgery are used and of course, these require a new set of technical skills to ensure mastery of the different surgical techniques. This requires both training and experience. Not all foot and ankle surgeons perform minimally invasive foot surgery.

Who is eligible for this procedure?

Most patients with common feet deformities are eligible to have minimally invasive surgery. You need to be evaluated by an experienced minimally invasive foot surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate. There are certain deformities that are too large to be corrected using minimally invasive techniques.

Contact Nagler Foot Center at 713-893-5620 or visit www.foothouston.com to schedule an appointment with Houston podiatrist, Sherman Nagler, DPM, FACFAS.