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What Factors Contribute to Bunion Surgery Costs?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 17, 2024
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Bunion surgery costs depend on the type of surgery performed and whether health insurance covers all or part of the expense. Costs also vary according to the region where the operation is done, and whether a hospital stay is required. If cosmetic surgery is desired after the medical procedure, most insurance companies will not pay for it. The cost of bunion surgery also varies depending on whether the protruding bunion is simply removed or if major surgery is required to realign the big toe and surrounding ligaments.

A bunion is an abnormality of the first metatarsal, or big toe, which forces it to bend toward the smaller toes on the foot. A swollen bump appears as the joint becomes misaligned, sometimes causing severe pain when walking. Bunions tend to worsen over time, and may need minor or major surgery to alleviate pain. Surgery costs vary with the type of operation.

Some surgeons opt to break the big toe, and realign the bone, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the bone as a permanent solution to bunion pain. This operation requires a six to eight week recovery period when a cast or walking boot is worn. Sometimes patients must use crutches in the weeks following surgery. Surgery costs for these procedures can be partly or wholly covered by health insurance. Follow-up surgery to repair scarring generally is not covered.

Another option consists of removing the damaged joint, or cutting the joint and repositioning the toe. These operations may reduce bunion surgery costs but are not guaranteed to permanently correct the problem. The bunion might grow back because ligaments and tendons supporting the toe were not treated.

Some patients choose to do nothing to avoid bunion surgery costs. If the bump on the big toe is not causing major pain, it can be left alone. Anti-inflammatory drugs can control minor pain. Wider shoes, shoe inserts, or pads placed over the bunion can also help. Some women endure bunion surgery costs for the sole purpose of attractive feet when wearing open-toed shoes.

Bunions are an inherited trait that might develop from flat feet. After years of walking without sufficient arch support, the big toe begins to protrude upward and over the other toes. The condition is worsened when women wear high heels or shoes with pointed toes. Some people do not experience pain from bunions unless arthritis sets in.

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Discussion Comments

By Raynbow — On Jun 08, 2014

@spotiche5- It is also important to get a second opinion about whether or not you even need surgery to treat a bunion in the first place. You may be o.k. to wait for a while, or your may not even need to have surgery at all.

Some doctors rush into surgical options when other types of bunion treatments may work just as well. If you have several medical opinions for your problem, you will have better information to get cost options. You will also feel like you are making the most informed decision possible.

By Spotiche5 — On Jun 07, 2014

It's not a good idea to wait to have bunion removal surgery if you are having bunion problems because your issues will only get worse as you get older. The best plan of action once you decide to have surgery is to call different doctors and facilities to see what costs you may be facing.

Insurance policies may cover part of the cost of bunion treatment, but you will likely have to pay co-pays and co-insurance costs. By calling different providers, you will get a clear idea of whether or not they accept your policy and how much you may expect to pay out of pocket.

In addition, different doctors and hospitals may vary greatly in the prices they charge for bunion surgery. Knowing the costs up front will help you choose the most affordable option for you, your insurance, and your budget.

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