Bunion surgery generally involves an incision in the top or side of the big toe joint and the removal or realignment of soft tissue and bone. This is done to relieve pain and restore normal alignment to the joint. If the joint is severely deformed, it may be stabilized with tiny wires, stitches, screws, or plates. A local anesthetic that affects only the foot is commonly used for bunion surgery as well as a sedative during the procedure. The procedure usually takes an hour or more, depending on the type of surgery. The usual recovery period after bunion surgery is 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on the amount of soft tissue and bone affected. Complete healing may take as long as 1 year.