The ends of the ankle joint bones are called malleoli. The tibia bone has two malleoli in the medial and posterior, while the fibula has one, which is laterally placed. Ankle fractures take place when the melleoli are broken. These are common fractures, which may occur after a fall, automobile accident, or simply twisting of the ankle. One, two, or all three malleoli may be broken.
Ankle fracture symptoms include pain, bruising, swelling and difficulty with ankle motion. The surgeon may take x-rays to conclude that it is an ankle fracture. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler provide ankle fracture surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.
Goal of Ankle Fracture Surgery
The primary goal of an ankle fracture surgery is to enable the ankle joint to heal back to a normal shape. Once the ankle has been restored as required, the next step is to help it to regain regular movement. The long-term goal of ankle fracture surgery is to minimize the risk of ankle arthritis in the future.
Need for Surgery
When the ankle fracture is causing pain or instability, surgery will be required to repair the ankle. In some injuries, the ankle bones may poke through the skin. These are known as open ankle fractures and need surgery.
Ankle fracture surgery can be avoided when the ankle is in its original position and is reasonably stable despite the fracture. If the patient’s medical condition makes it too risky to have ankle fracture surgery, other treatment alternatives may be used.
The surgeon will begin the ankle fracture surgery after anesthesia and antibiotics have been administered to the patient. Small incisions will be placed through the ankle skin in the area where the bones are broken. The surgeon will reposition the breaks in the bones and hold them in the right place with implants.
Following the repair of the ankle fracture, the surgeon will place the patient’s leg in a protective splint made of plaster. Many patients will be able to return home the same day after surgery, but a few may have to stay overnight at the surgical facility for observation. Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler are board certified orthopedic surgeons receiving patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas for ankle fracture surgery.
Specific Surgical Technique
The most common surgical technique for ankle fracture surgery is called the open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) technique. It involves an incision over the ankle to view the fractured bones. Open reduction is performed to place the broken pieces of the bones together.
Internal fixation is then carried out to hold the broken bones in this correct position. Screws or metal plates may be used for this purpose. Movement can begin shortly after the surgery as the ankle fracture heals. Stability will be provided by the internal fixation technique.
Following the ankle fracture surgery, the ankle will be immobilized for a few weeks. Once the wound healing is completed, the patient will be fitted for either a boot or a cast. Physical therapy may be needed in a few cases to regain full ankle strength.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394