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What is Involved in Neuroma Removal?

By Madeleine A.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Neuroma removal is a relatively simple procedure involving administering either a local anesthetic to the affected area on the foot, or giving the patient anesthesia intravenously. Typically, after the anesthesia has taken effect, antiseptic solution is applied to the area and a surgical incision is made. The surgeon generally makes this incision on the top of the foot, which is the most common location for many Morton's neuromas. One of the most important reasons for excising the neuroma through an incision on the top of the foot as opposed to the bottom is so the patient will not need to use crutches and the incision will heal better without constant pressure from walking.

A neuroma is an abnormal nerve damaged by trauma or abnormal foot function. After the incision is made, the affected nerve, or neuroma, is identified, incised, and removed. The incision is then closed with stitches or sutures and a sterile gauze dressing is applied. Generally, the sterile gauge is left in place, untouched, until the patient sees the surgeon at the first post-operative visit. At this visit, the surgeon inspects the site and applies a new sterile gauze dressing. The sutures typically stay in place for 10 to 14 days after neuroma removal. In addition, during this time, the patient should keep his foot dry to avoid risk of infection.

Generally after neuroma removal, the patient will be given a special shoe to wear. After the sutures have been removed, however, a regular shoe with a stiff sole and ample room can be worn. It frequently takes about three weeks after the neuroma removal before a regular shoe can be worn comfortably by the patient.

Returning to work depends on what type of work the patient does. Frequently, if the work involves sitting, where the foot can be elevated and propped up at times, a patient can return to work about one week after surgery. Conversely, if work involves prolonged walking, standing, or kneeling, the patient may need to recuperate at home for up to six weeks.

Although neuroma removal is a relatively simple orthopedic procedure, done in an outpatient setting, complications can occur. Typically, if complications do arise, they are either related to infection, inflammation, pain, or a delay in healing. In addition, when nerves are cut, it is possible that as they grow or regenerate, they may produce stump neuromas. Also, if the patient excessively walks on the affected foot after the neuroma removal, bleeding, excessive swelling, and scarring might cause continued pain and prolonged healing time.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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