What is Ankle Fracture Surgery?
This procedure is used to treat fibula or tibia fractures in the ankle joint. This is accomplished by attaching a stainless steel plate and screws to the tibia or fibula to keep the bones stable during healing.
Who needs Ankle Fracture Surgery?
This procedure is beneficial for those with broken ankles, often caused by tripping, falling, receiving a sudden impact to the ankle, "twisting" or "rolling" the ankle. Symptoms of an ankle fracture vary depending on the location and severity of the fracture, but often include severe pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. Deformity and an inability to put weight on the ankle may also be present.
What are the steps in Ankle Fracture Surgery?
Before the Surgery
Once the patient is positioned to give the surgeon access to the ankle, anesthesia is applied. Then, the ankle area is cleaned and sterilized.
The Ankle is Accessed
The procedure varies depending on whether the tibia or the fibula is fractured. If it is the fibula, then the procedure begins with the surgeon making an incision on the ankle's outer side. If any small bone fragments are present as a result of the fracture, these are removed at this stage.
Repairing the Fibula
The stainless steel fixation plate is inserted. This is attached to the fibula with surgical screws to stabilize the fibula.
Repairing the Tibia
If the fracture is present on the tibia, then an incision is made on the inner side of the ankle. Bone fragments from the fracture are cleared.
Inserting the Screws
Depending on the severity of the fracture, surgical screws may be used to keep the bone stabilized. However, if it is very severe, there may be need for a fixation plate.
End of Procedure
The surgeon closes the incision with surgical staples or sutures. Bandage is applied, and the ankle is placed into a splint.
Patients who undergo this procedure will be required to wear a cast or boot during the recovery process and should avoid putting weight on the injured foot for 3 to 10 weeks. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to help return to pre-injury activities.