External Fixation Of An Ankle Fracture

What you should know

External fixation of an ankle fracture is surgery to repair your broken ankle.

Care Agreement

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.

Risks

You may bleed more than expected and get an infection. Other parts of your ankle and foot, such as nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and bones, may be damaged. Your leg, ankle, or foot may become stiff, numb, and weak. Even after surgery, you may still have ankle pain or problems moving your leg or foot. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities, such as sports.

Getting Ready

The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

  • 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 and urine tests before surgery. You may also need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI of your ankle and foot. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • 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.

  • 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 will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

Your healthcare provider will align the broken bones together by carefully pushing, pulling, and turning your leg, ankle, or foot. He will try to do this without making a cut on your skin. He may have to make small cuts on your skin for bones that are hard to reach. He may use a fluoroscope (x-ray) to help him insert pins and correctly align the bones. Holes will be made in your bone above and below the fracture using a drill. Screws and long metal pins will be inserted through the holes to keep the bones aligned properly. The pins will stick out through your skin, and other rods and devices will be attached to them. An x-ray may be done to see if the bones were set in the right way. Bandages will be wrapped around the areas where pins were inserted.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. Bandages keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after your surgery to check your wound.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • You get a cold or the flu.

  • Your skin near the injured ankle is red, swollen, or painful.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your symptoms get worse.

  • You have increased pain or difficulty moving your leg, ankle, or foot.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

Learn more about External Fixation Of An Ankle Fracture (Precare)

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