A bunion is a bone enlargment behind the big toe ( hallux ) which is often an inherited characteristic, but is affected by shoe wear selection, activity and is often not the only problem an individual will have with their foot structure and function. When developing in youth, this is often referred to as a Juvenille Bunion.
Bunion surgery is rarely considered urgent , or the only alternative, but is a medically reasonable alternative that is best approached by careful planning both by the patient and the physician. The adjacent diagram represents a Closing Base Wedge Osteotomy, where the bone must be cut at the base, removing a wedge of bone, and then compressing the site with a screw. A bump of bone is still removed from the prominent bunion area. Most often , the recouperation is more of a " pain in the butt" than it is a pain in the foot, assuming the patient follows instructions meticulously , and assuming there are no complications from the procedure. There is however never a guarantee of results in medicine or surgery.
If minor in appearance or amount of deformity, both the patient and podiatrist are often better served by looking at alternatives, which can includle alterations of shoe styles and some paddings, orthotics , medications, injections, physical therapy. See the ACFAS position statement on cosmetic surgery.
You may link to foot physicians more detailed article http://www.footphysicians.com/footankleinfo/bunions.htm