Quintus Varus: Recovery and Postoperative Care
After undergoing quintus varus surgery, recovery involves specific steps as part of the patient's recovery journey.
Quintus Varus, also known as "Bunionette," is a condition affecting the forefoot. It involves a deformity of the 5th metatarsal, similar to hallux valgus but in the opposite direction. This deformity originates from the retraction of the soft tissues around the 5th toe. Other parts of the foot, including the skin, joint capsule, and extensor and flexor tendons of the toe, can also be affected.
As a specialist in percutaneous foot and ankle surgery, Dr. Julien Lopez plays a crucial role in treating Quintus Varus. Percutaneous surgery for Quintus Varus optimizes the patient's recovery and minimizes the size of scars. But what are the postoperative care steps for Quintus Varus? Here's everything you need to know about Quintus Varus, the surgery, and its recovery.
Percutaneous Surgery for Treating Quintus Varus
The percutaneous surgery procedure offers a simplified approach for both the surgeon and the patient in terms of correction. Initially, the retracted elements are cut using a miniature scalpel. To enhance the correction's effectiveness and further reduce the risk of recurrence, one or two percutaneous osteotomies (bone cuts) are performed on the metatarsal bone or phalanx.
As a result, the fifth toe is realigned into the proper position, while the surrounding soft tissues are relaxed. In severe quintus varus cases, a pin may sometimes be inserted inside the toe, which will be removed during a follow-up appointment. Percutaneous surgery is precise and allows for a correct correction with lasting results.
Bunionette Dressing: What You Need to Know
Following the surgery, Dr. Lopez applies a dressing to the bunionette, aligning the 5th toe. This dressing must be kept in place until the next appointment with the practitioner. The postoperative appointment typically takes place 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery.
Only Dr. Lopez can remove or modify your Quintus Varus dressing. In case of abnormalities or pain, you should contact the office directly so that Dr. Lopez can examine the dressing.
Quintus Varus Pain: How to Alleviate It?
After the operation, Quintus Varus pain remains moderate and varies from one individual to another, depending on factors such as the procedures performed, body weight, walking, comorbidities, and the patient's lifestyle. To relieve pain following the surgery, here are the surgeon's recommendations for Quintus Varus:
- Apply ice and elevate the foot when it swells or you experience pain.
- Follow the prescribed medication regimen for the first two days after the operation.
- Undergo physiotherapy sessions for foot rehabilitation to restore mobility, muscle strength, and flexibility in the foot.
Swelling is entirely normal after such an intervention. It takes about two months for swelling to subside by approximately 80% and 6 to 9 months for it to completely deflate.
After a Quintus Varus operation, postoperative pain is most intense during the first 2 days after the surgery and gradually decreases. In the event of foot infection following Quintus Varus surgery, pain may become lingering and worsen over time. Pain accompanied by itching can also indicate an allergy. Other common risks include:
- Delays in bone consolidation and non-union
If pain is abnormal, the practitioner may decide to remove the dressing to check the scar and the appearance of the foot.
Quintus Varus Recovery: All the Steps
Following the operation, the patient must strictly follow the practitioner's recommendations for Quintus Varus recovery.
Upon leaving the operating room, the patient is allowed to put weight on the foot using the prescribed orthopedic shoe. The medical shoe should be worn for a minimum of 15 days. Regarding walking, the patient should attempt to walk while putting weight on the front of the foot where the surgery was performed. Canes may be prescribed for use when leaving the clinic, but you can walk without them the day after the surgery depending on how you feel.
Upon returning home, it is recommended to take the prescribed medications and elevate the foot. As mentioned earlier, it is essential to regularly apply ice to the operated foot several times a day. Be cautious, and ensure the ice does not come into direct contact with the skin to avoid burns. The dressing applied by the surgeon must also be kept dry.
After the operation, postoperative follow-up lasts approximately 2 months, which is the time needed for bone consolidation and the return to normal shoe use. It includes two postoperative appointments: one at 21 days after the surgery and the second at 60 days. Additional consultations are necessary in the presence of complications.
Around the 3rd week after the operation, the patient is allowed to start rehabilitation after the dressing is removed. Physiotherapy sessions are not always necessary; the surgeon will recommend physiotherapy after examining the foot. It is also important for the patient to engage in self-rehabilitation to expedite functional foot recovery. As for resuming driving, it is not prohibited by the surgeon, but make sure you are covered by insurance.
Following a Quintus Varus operation, the patient can consider resuming some sports activities after 1 month, such as cycling and swimming. From the second month onwards, other sports can be resumed provided there is no pain. High-impact sports like contact sports or those involving pivoting should not be started until 6-7 months.
In case of mild discomfort during the resumption of physical activity, a silicone Quintus Varus protection for sports can be useful to absorb shocks and strains.
The healing time for a bunionette can depend on several factors, including the severity of the deviation, the surgical technique used, or the patient's health condition.
Complete healing can take several weeks or months. Thanks to percutaneous surgery, scars are almost nonexistent, and pain is reduced. Percutaneous surgery is less aggressive on tissues due to minimal incisions.
In any case, it is essential to follow the surgeon's recommendations, even if they differ from written instructions.