The lowdown Painful and very unsightly, bunions are a nuisance when it comes to finding good-looking footwear. But whether it’s genetic predisposition (if your mother had them, you’re likely to follow in her footsteps) or bio-mechanical reasons (poor posture or shoes) – a soloution is at hand. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Bianchi is the brains behind a stealthy keyhole technique, which uses a drill, not a saw, to smooth bulbous bunions and restore feet to former beauty. Unlike conventional surgery, the ligaments and musculature are kept intact, and there’s no breaking of bones, or a need for screws or wire. Instead, Dr Bianchi makes two keyhole incisions: the first to release the tendon supporting the first metatarsal (the bunion-afflicted bone); the second to remove the bunion. The procedure takes four minutes per foot, then it’s done – while skin is kept intact with no visible scarring. He makes two small stitches before bandaging the feet, then you’re dispatched to the relaxation room for an hour’s convalescence. Sufficiently rested, you’ll slip on a pair of supportive shoes and saunter straight out to lunch.
Pain factor Dr Bianchi administers an ankle block (one jab to each side), which dulls all sensation ahead of the surgery. However, in comparison to techniques of old, recovery is pain-free and rather uneventful. If you do experience any tenderness, a Paracetemol or Ibuprofen will take off the edge.
Downtime Miraculously, there’s no need for crutches – though you’ll need to consign your Chanel ballet pumps to the wardrobe for the next two months. For the first 20 days, you’ll be in the supportive footwear; then you’ll head back to the clinic, where Dr Bianchi will teach you how to tape the feet, and you’ll transition to soft running shoes. The final 20 days are a walk in the park – and designed to let the feet heal completely.
Results The head of the bunion changes immediately, and the foot’s alignment is instantly straighter. Better still, results (slender-looking feet, with pain and inflammation miraculously absent) are permanent, with a 98 per cent success rate.
Details Consultaion including X-ray, £200; £4,600 for one bunion; £7,900 for two (carried out in separate operations), at The Private Clinic, 98 Harley Street, W1 (theprivateclinic.co.uk).