HomeNews Orthopedic Center physicians create new surgical procedure for bunions

Orthopedic Center physicians create new surgical procedure for bunions

February 2, 2017

Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center Foot and Ankle TeamPictured: Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center foot and ankle specialists J. Benjamin Jackson III, M.D., W. Bret Smith, D.O., and Ryan M. Putnam, M.D (l-r).

Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center physicians have created a new procedure to help patients with bunions.

The procedure, Lapiplasty™, is three-dimensional bunion correction that uses advanced methods that allow many patients to put weight on their feet within days after the surgery. It also allows patients to return to their normal activities including sports after the bones are completely healed.

“We are committed to offering quality solutions and helping patients select the most appropriate treatment for their condition,” said W. Bret Smith, D.O., orthopedic surgeon at Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center, a Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group practice.

Smith, who specializes in foot and ankle surgery, added, “The goal is to help patients understand that they can have and lead pain-free lives with healthy feet. This will improve their quality of life and help them have an active lifestyle.”

Lapiplasty™ differences include:

  • Treating the three-dimensional deformity of the bunion, not the more common two-dimensional treatment
  • Decreasing the chance of recurrence of the bunion 
  • Using innovative implants to allow for early postoperative weight bearing
  • Operating with instrumented surgical techniques that decrease operative time

Faith Demars can speak personally about how this procedure has helped her because she knows the pain of bunions all too well. She recalls having bunions for as long as she can remember. It wasn’t until her 30s that they started to hurt in shoes – flats, heels and sneakers. It didn’t matter what she wore, her feet hurt.

Some research suggests a genetic link as a factor. Individuals with a family history of bunions are more likely to develop bunions at some point during their lifetime.

“It got to a point where, after two hours, I couldn’t walk in shoes,” Demars said. “They would also bother me in sneakers.” Demars had surgery on both feet in 2016 – the right foot in April and the left in December.

She joins others who had symptoms that include a bulging bump at the base of the big toe, soreness around the joint and intermittent pain. Over time, the bunion pushes the big toe inward, which can squeeze other toes into abnormal positions. The painful and unsightly bulges that develop at the base of the big toe are not necessarily the result of fancy footwear; heredity plays a part.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to being active without pain,” Demars said. “I use to work out a lot, but after a workout my feet would hurt really bad. It is going to be nice for it to be different.”

Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center treats many different conditions that can affect the foot and ankle including surgical and nonsurgical options. This treatment is only one of many options available to patients. Each treatment is specific to the individual patient’s needs and the progression of the bunion issue. For more information, visit https://phuscmg.org/footandankle or call 803-296-7746.


About Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group
The Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group is a not-for-profit company that brings together health care providers from two of South Carolina’s most respected organizations – Palmetto Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. With more than 600 providers and 2,200 team members in nearly 90 practices and more than 100 locations, we form the largest multispecialty medical group and provide the broadest range of health care services in the Midlands region. For more information, visit phuscmg.org.