About this service
Ligament reconstruction is a procedure to restore stability to the ankle. This procedure is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in foot and ankle procedures.
The foot and ankle have several ligaments. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue which keep the bones in your ankle and feet stable. After repeated strains or injury the ligaments in your ankle can become weak or unstable. Surgery often involves repairing the damaged ligament or ligaments. Surgery is only recommended by a surgeon if the ankle has not responded to non-surgical treatments.
It is important for patients to be in the best possible overall health prior to surgery.
Patients and their healthcare team can take several actions before and after surgery to reduce the risks of complications.
- Medication: patients should inform their surgeon of what medication they are on. The surgeon will review and decide if any of these need to be stopped before the procedure.
- Diet: in the weeks before surgery eat a balanced diet as this can help the healing process.
- Smoking: to reduce the risk of infection patients who smoke will be asked to stop smoking for one month before and after the operation.
- Blood clots: to reduce the risk of developing a blood clot in the legs or lungs, a number of recommendations will be given to in advance of surgery.
- Infection: for patients who have signs or symptoms of an infection, such as a chest or urinary infection in the days prior to surgery, the surgeon should be informed. The surgeon will also need to be advised of a rash or flare up of psoriasis or eczema around the hip area or a leg ulcer. For patients who have a history of MRSA/VRE or have been in contact with someone with MRSA/VRE, the Healthcare team should be informed.
- Exercise: it is important to be as fit as possible before the procedure, as it will make recovery much faster.
The surgeon and anaesthetist will discuss the options for anaesthesia with the patient, as well as the risks and benefits associated with each.
During the procedure the surgeon will make an incision to the outside of the ankle. The surgeon can use several different techniques depending on the individual patient. One option is to repair the patient’s own existing ligaments by tightening up the ligaments with stitches. In other cases the ligaments may be replaced with tendons or synthetic ligaments. The whole operation may take one to two hours.
The majority of patients have this procedure as a day case and will return home the same day.
- After surgery, you will stay in the recovery room for one to two hours before being discharged home.
- You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first night.
- After surgery, patients will stay in the recovery room for one to two hours before being discharged home.
- After the procedure the patient’s leg will likely be elevated and in a brace to keep it from moving.
- It is to be expected that there will be some pain and discomfort after surgery. Patients will be given pain medication in hospital and will be sent home with a prescription for pain medication.
- Patients should organise for someone to drive them home from the hospital and stay with them for at least the first night.
- After their surgery, patients will likely need to wear a splint for a couple of weeks. They may also need to use crutches for several weeks. It may be up to six weeks before weight can be placed on the ankle. The surgeon will provide instructions about your recovery and rehabilitation.
- Patients will be given an appointment to attend the dressing clinic two weeks after surgery.
- Patients will be given an appointment to attend their surgeon four to six weeks post-op.
- Patients may require a follow-up x-ray.
- Total expected recovery time is between six and twelve months.