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Bunion Clinic

Risks of Surgery

Risk of surgery

All surgery has risks involved, however every effort is made to reduce these risks.

There is always a certain level of uncertainty for any surgical procedure.
Every person responds differently to pain and surgery. Every person has an injury specific to them.
It may take a long period to recover from surgery depending on many factors.

No guarantee has been provided that the surgery will improve or cure your foot and ankle condition, but all treatment has been carried out with due professional care.

Swelling and pain is usual and normal after foot and ankle surgery. Every effort is made to control this.

Risks include but are not limited to:

General risks of Surgery:

  • Heart eg heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Drug reactions or allergic reactions
  • Chest infection
  • Death rarely occurs

General Risks of Foot and Ankle Surgery:

Infection: superficial or deep. If it occurs, may require strong antibiotics or further surgery.

    Blood clots: DVT (clots in the leg) or PE (clots in the lung). You may have mechanical preventative measures such as compression stockings or pumps, or chemical preventative measures such as injections or tablets. These are aimed at reducing your risk.
  • The surgery may not resolve your problem. It has the potential to exacerbate your problem or cause increased pain.
  • Stiffness of the ankle joint may occur
  • Nerve damage: tingling, numbness, burning. This may be temporary or permanent
  • There will be a surgical scar with every surgery. Sometimes this scar heals in a thicker or raised way or tethering of the skin may occur.
  • Affects of the tourniquet used in surgery such as numbness and pain in the limb,
    which is usually temporary but rarely may be permanent
  • Revision surgery may be required
  • Bleeding: risk is increased with blood thinning medications such as xaralto, asasantin or Clopidogrel (Plavix). This can cause a haematoma, pain, bruising and even lead to an infection

Specific Foot and Ankle Surgery:

  • Fusions – may not fuse or only partially fuse
  • Stabilising procedures – may under or over tighten, may not resolve the initial instability
  • Tendon repair/reconstruction – risk of stretching or rerupture
  • Replacement surgery – prosthetic loosening, infection, fracture around the prosthesis
  • Hardware irritation
  • Abnormal pain response to surgery with altered colour and sensation

There is an increase risk of surgery in patients with:

  • Diabetes
  • Smokers
  • Obesity
  • Significant peripheral vascular disease
  • Severe neuropathy
  • Previous or current infection


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