How is the Surgery Performed?

The operation is composed of three parts. Firstly, the ankle is examined clinically and with x-rays while you are asleep. Secondly, a keyhole examination of the ankle is made as up to one quarter of ankle instability is caused from within the ankle joint. Thirdly, if the first two parts suggest that it is required, the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are tightened.

If the ligaments are tightened then you will have a plaster cast applied, and this will stay on for six weeks. If the ligaments are not tightened, then you will be able to walk on the foot as pain allows. If it is felt that the ligaments do not need tightening, but instability continues, then this part of the operation may need to be performed subsequently.

Surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, but can be carried out with local anaesthetic injections behind the knee or around the ankle. The injections are normally given while you are asleep for your comfort. They can give good pain relief for the first day after the operation. You can go home the same day in the evening.


Risks of Surgery


Bleeding, infection, poor bone healing, poor skin healing, injury to tendons, injury to nerves, recurrence, and a need for further surgery.

There is a small risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs (DVT and PE), and there are also risks from anaesthesia - the process of being put to sleep for your operation.

Risks of Anaesthesia

The injection behind your knee is given using an ultrasound machine to guide the needle. There is a less than 1% chance of injury to the nerve. General anaesthetic also carries risks. These risks are proportional to your general health. You will need to be assessed for your fitness for surgery and an Anaesthetist will be able to advise you on your individual risk.

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