St. Clair Checkup: Lapiplasty

Dr. William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS

An innovative new surgical procedure is bringing pain relief and reversal of disability to people who have been suffering with hallux valgus, the common foot deformity better known as a bunion. The procedure, lapiplasty, is performed at St. Clair Hospital by William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, a fellowship trained and board-certified foot and ankle surgeon with highly specialized training in this and other complex foot and ankle surgeries. Dr. DeCarbo practices with St. Clair Orthopedic Associates, part of St. Clair Medical Services.

“A bunion is a painful forefoot deformity caused by an unstable midfoot joint,” Dr. DeCarbo explains. “When you have a bunion, the long bone behind the big toe becomes abnormally aligned, causing the big toe to lean toward the other toes. This abnormal alignment causes a painful bony protrusion. The tendency to develop bunions is inherited, but wearing high heels or tight shoes can exacerbate the condition. Shoes with a wide toe box, orthotics or toe spacers can help, but these measures don’t correct the problem.”

In traditional bunion surgery, the surgeon cuts the abnormally aligned bone and shifts the top of it, giving the appearance that it has been corrected. But according to Dr. DeCarbo, the only way to fully correct the deformity is to go to the root cause, which is an unstable joint in the midfoot that allows the bone to drift out of alignment. “Lapiplasty anatomically corrects the deformity, leaving the bone straight, realigned and fixated via fusion. It’s a complete anatomic reduction, offering long term deformity correction.”

Lapiplasty, which was developed by Treace Medical, is an outpatient procedure that lasts about an hour and a half and offers immediate protected weight bearing. “Lapiplasty is very helpful to patients,” Dr. DeCarbo says. “It’s a better way, and I’m pleased to be able to offer it to the people of this region.”

To contact Dr. DeCarbo, please call 412.942.7262.