Well, you have researched or been diagnosed with a painful bunion bump behind your great toe. Pads, wider shoegear, injections or inserts have not helped you and you are ready to take the next step -- surgery. Nobody likes to admit they need surgery, but when the "S" word becomes the treatment of choice we all want a fast and painless recovery.

Enter laser bunion surgery. Sounds high tech, like something out of Star Trek. Whoever is selling has got your attention. Unfortunately, laser bunion surgery is just that, a gimmick used to get your attention and through the office doors.

A bunion deformity is caused by bones, that in the vast majority of bunion cases need to be cut and moved to a more normal, anatomic position. When I first heard about this new treatment I thought, "Wow, who would have thought we would be cutting bone with lasers in my lifetime." That may happen, but the day is not today.

In laser bunion surgery, the surgeon's laser acts as a knife to cut the skin only. The remainder of the procedure is no different than the way it has been done for decades with surgical breaking/cutting of bone with saws and fixation with screws. Post-operative recovery is also the same. The only claim made by users of skin lasers is they reduce bleeding at the incision line, but unfortunately for the patient this does not translate to much.

You will not find information on how this procedure works on most physicians websites that offer this service. Let's admit it, we all think lasers are cool, and once you make you appointment the gimmick has succeeded.

Lasers can be useful to the podiatrist, however, when destroying skin lesions, but they currently are not the wave of the future in bunion surgery, at least not with today's technology.

If you have had an evaluation from a doctor who claims the laser will fix your deformity, don't walk - run from that office! But wear comfortable shoes, you have painful bunions, remember!

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