Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery FAQ's

Minimally Invasive Foot Surgeon

What is Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery?

Minimally invasive foot surgery involves the application of the latest surgical techniques to the realm of foot surgery. By using smaller incisions and decreasing the amount of soft tissue disruption during the performance of surgical procedures. You the patient are able to achieve the desired surgical results with less pain and reduced disability and downtime when compared to the open types of procedures. Smaller incisions mean less tissue to heal, fewer nerves and blood vessels are cut, and post op swelling will be reduced.

How Large are the incisions?

Incisions range from 5 millimeters to two centimeters for most procedures.

What kinds of problems can minimally invasive foot surgery fix?

DR. Swaim routinely uses MIS surgery techniques to correct painful hammertoes and bunions, permanently remove painful corns and spurs as well as for remodeling of arthritic joints.

What kind of anesthesia is used?

If you elect to have the surgery in the office surgical suite, only local anesthetics are employed. If you choose to go to the hospital, only IV anesthesia is required.

Can I walk after the procedure?

Yes. While it is important to elevate and rest the operative foot in the immediate post operative period, you can bear weight on the operated foot in the post op shoe immediately after your foot surgery.

Can I get the foot wet?

You cannot get the foot wet while the stitches are in. The stitches will remain in the skin for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on y our healing progress.

How much pain can I expect after the MIS surgery?

Most patients experience only mild to moderate discomfort during the first few days after having their procedures. While each individual is different with regards to pain perception and tolerance, most patients are pleasantly surprised by both the minimal amount of post op pain and the short duration of any pain after surgery. We will prescribe pain medication for your post op recovery and anti-inflammatories are often used to assist in pain control. We also utilize a topical, surgeon-formulated pain cream to be applied by the patient at specific locations on the operative foot to block the pain signals.

What kinds of complications can occur with MIS surgery?

Just like with any other type of surgery, the patient could experience an infection, prolonged pain and swelling, poor healing of skin and/or bone, dehiscence of the wound, recurrence of the original deformity, need for additional foot surgery, under correction or over correction of the deformity, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, etc. Due to the smaller incisions used in MIS surgery, the patient’s chances of incurring a painful scar are less than with open foot surgery. Infection risk is theoretically reduced as well given the reduced exposure of deeper tissues and structures to air borne contaminants.

How long am I off of work?

This varies according to the types and numbers of procedure performed at one time and depends on t he activity level and demands placed on the individual while performing their job duties. For less involved procedures, patient often return to limited duty work activities after two weeks for bunion corrections and can return to limited duty in 4-7 days after hammertoe corrections and spur removals. Again, this is dependent on your physical job requirements and the types of surgical procedures performed. The doctor will discuss this with you at the time of evaluation.

Do I have to stop my blood thinner to have MIS surgery?

When correcting for corns, spurs, and a single hammertoe, you are not taken off of your anticoagulants so long as your INR is within the therapeutic range. For those procedures involving more bone work you may be required to stop anticoagulation therapy for a short time prior to the surgery.

How many post op visits will I need?

Usually only one or two for single procedures. You will typically be seen seven days after your surgery to have the bandage changed and for wound healing assessment. If the sutures are left in at this visit, you will return one week later to have those removed. If you have a bunionectomy or other osteotomies performed, you will typically be seen again at 4 weeks post op for a final assessment of your range of motion at the operated joint.

How do I know if I am a candidate for MIS foot surgery?

Make an appointment with Dr.Swaim for a comprehensive evaluation of your foot complaints along with an in-depth discussion of all your treatment options including conservative and alternative care.



Dr. John Swaim

Aerofeet Podiatry Center
2530 Sr. Mary Columba
Red Bluff, CA 96080

(530) 527-7584