Lateral Ligament Reconstruction Of The Ankle

The ankle is made up of strong ligaments on either side of the ankle, which allow the joint to move up and down, and side to side. The lateral ligament has three bands connecting the fibula (the bone on the outside of the ankle) to the talus (the ankle bone) and heel bone. Lateral ligament reconstruction is the operation that is done to repair stretched or torn the ligaments of the ankle. This is caused by the twisting of the ankle joint otherwise known as a sprained ankle, in which the ligaments can become stretched or torn.

Why Would They Be Done?

Most sprained ankles are able to heal on their own; however, some patients require lateral ligament reconstruction. Lateral ligament reconstruction is performed either because the ankle ligaments don’t heal properly or are too lax once healed. Thus the ligaments are no longer tight or stable enough. If the ankle is unstable and gives way on uneven ground or when changing direction quickly, surgery may be recommended.

There are two types of ankle ligament surgeries:

  • A Brostrom surgery is performed when a stretched ligament has healed in a lengthened position
  • A tendon reconstruction surgery is performed to treat damaged or torn tendons in the ankle when a Brostrom repair may fail.

What Does Each Operation Involve?

Depending on the type and severity of the problem you will either be recommended to have Brostrom surgery or tendon reconstruction surgery performed.

During Brostrom surgery

An incision is made on the outside of the ankle so that the stretched ligament can be cut shorter and stitched together again under correct tension, to tighten the ligament. A thick band of tissue, known as the ‘extensor retinaculum’ is then stitched over the top of the ligament to reinforce it. The skin is closed, and a plaster is applied to the leg.

During tendon reconstruction surgery

An incision is made on the outside of the ankle to get access to where the ‘peroneal tendons’ are situated. A small portion of the tendon is then used as a tendon-graft in which it acts as a material to re-join the torn or damaged part of the tendon. The tendon-graft is then attached using small drill holes from the ankle bone to the heel bone. The skin is then closed, and a plaster is applied to the leg.

For more information on what to expect after surgery, please click the link for a detailed patient guide on this surgery.

Please note: appointment dates and times are subject to availability.

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