Achilles Tendon Repair
What you should know
Achilles tendon repair is surgery to fix your damaged Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscle to your heel bone.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
There are always risks with surgery. You could get an infection or bleed too much. You could have trouble breathing or get blood clots. Other parts around the tendon, such as blood vessels and nerves may also be affected. Sometimes, even after surgery, the ankle may not go back to the way it was before. If you do not have surgery, the pain and problems you have when moving your ankle or foot may worsen. You may have problems walking, and may have trouble going back to your usual activities, including sports. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your injury, treatment, or care.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need to have blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG), chest x-ray, and other tests. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your surgery:
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy before your procedure or surgery. Tell your caregiver if you or anyone in your family has had a problem using anesthesia in the past.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
- You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You may be given medicine to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be taken on a stretcher to the room where your surgery will be done. Medicine called anesthesia will be given to keep you free from pain during the surgery. You will be placed on your stomach with your feet hanging at the end of the table. A tourniquet will be wrapped around your leg to help decrease blood loss. Your leg, ankle, and foot will be cleaned with soap and water and then covered with sheets.
- Caregivers will make an incision in your ankle area. If a mini-open surgery will be done, a device will be inserted in the incision to hold the tendon ends. Caregivers will reattach the torn tendon by sewing the ends back together. A graft or flap from the calf fascia may be used. This is done to strengthen the repair. The incisions will be closed with stitches and wrapped with a bandage. Your ankle will be put in a splint, cast, or brace so it will heal faster.
You are taken to a room where your heart and breathing will be monitored. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. A bandage may cover wounds to help prevent infection. You may be able to go home after some time passes. If you had general anesthetic, an adult will need to drive you home. Your driver or someone else should stay with you for 24 hours. If you cannot go home, you will be taken to a hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery appointment on time.
- You have a fever.
- You have a skin infection or a wound near the injured ankle.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- The problems for which you are having surgery get worse.
- You have a lot more pain or trouble moving around.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.