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At St. Clair Hospital, Dr. William DeCarbo Performs Innovative Bunion Surgery that Gets Lasting Results
By Nancy Kennedy


Lapiplasty, an innovative new approach for the treatment of bunions, is transforming lives with excellent, long-lasting outcomes, and is offered at St. Clair Hospital by William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, a fellowship trained and board-certified foot and ankle surgeon who practices with St. Clair Orthopedic Associates, part of St. Clair Medical Services.

Lapiplasty is an advanced technology that represents a “radical” departure from traditional bunion surgery by going directly to the root cause of the deformity and correcting it with precision and anatomic alignment. “A bunion is a three-dimensional deformity and lapiplasty allows the surgeon to correct on all three dimensions. It’s fully corrected,” Dr. DeCarbo explains. “Lapiplasty is effective and lasting. It’s a unique approach.”

Dr. William DeCarboBunions are a painful, unsightly and even disabling condition that can significantly impact one’s mobility, comfort and quality of life. A bunion is widely believed to be an overgrowth of bone that protrudes just below the big toe and can be shaved off, but this is a misconception. A bunion is more complex than that: it’s actually a symptom of a deeper problem in the midfoot: a misaligned bone, the first metatarsal, the bone that is directly behind the big toe. Instability in the first metatarsal-cuneiform joint allows the bone to drift away from the second metatarsal. The head of the metatarsal deviates medially, eventually protruding, and the big toe leans toward the other toes, resulting in the deformity. Wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes exacerbates the problem. “Bunions can make you miserable,” Dr. DeCarbo says. “The pain and swelling may interfere with walking, and severe bunions may make it difficult to find shoes that can accommodate the protrusion. In addition, they’re a cosmetic problem – many women want to wear open toe shoes but are self-conscious about their bunions. Untreated, bunions will get worse over time.”

Traditional treatment for bunions has consisted of conservative measures including orthotics, shoes with a wide toe box and cushioning bunion pads, or a surgical intervention called osteotomy. Unfortunately, says Dr. DeCarbo, this procedure only gives the appearance of correction and does not completely solve the problem: it is reported that 30% to 70% of people who undergo osteotomy will experience a recurrence of bunions.

“To correct the bunion, and have that correction last, the bones have to be re-aligned,” Dr. DeCarbo explains. “Lapiplasty repositions and stabilizes the misaligned bone, securing and fixating it with implants. It’s tremendously effective.”

Dr. DeCarbo, a native of New Castle, PA, had a delayed start on his career in medicine. He thought he would follow in the family business, DeCarbo Funeral Home, but after a few years, Dr. DeCarbo recognized that he wanted to be a physician. He attended medical school at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, now Kent State University School of Podiatric Medicine, and following graduation completed a three-year residency and a twelve month orthopedic foot and ankle fellowship in Columbus, Ohio as well as an international fellowship. Dr. DeCarbo performs every type of foot and ankle surgery including total ankle replacement and is especially experienced in advanced reconstructive foot surgery. Dr. DeCarbo was one of the first foot and ankle surgeons from around the U.S. who were selected by Treace Medical to help develop the lapiplasty technology and procedure. He performs lapiplasty weekly, as an outpatient procedure at St. Clair.

Post-operatively, patients who undergo lapiplasty can expect immediate protected weight bearing – a far cry from the six to eight weeks of non-weight bearing it used to take. Total recovery takes 12 months, but patients can return to normal daily activity within a few weeks and return to impact sports or activity within three or four months.

“Lapiplasty is a game-changer for forefoot surgery, and I’m excited to be able to offer it to the region,” says Dr. DeCarbo. “You don’t have to live with pain and loss of function due to bunions. We can correct the condition; anatomically realigning the foot decreases the risk of recurrence.”

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To contact Dr. DeCarbo, call (412) 942-7262.



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