Lateral Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Surgery
A lateral ankle ligament reconstruction, or “Brostrom,” is a surgery used to correct chronic ankle instability. Ankle instability results from a torn or stretched ligament commonly caused by a single severe injury or repetitive minor strains of the ankle. When the ligaments on the outside part of the ankle are torn (ATFL and CTFL), they often heal in a “stretched out” fashion. This typically results in loose ligaments and an unstable ankle. A Brostrom surgery works to tighten or firm up these ligaments.
When Should I Consider a Lateral Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Surgery?
You might need a lateral ankle ligament reconstruction surgery if you have torn or stretched one or more ligaments in your ankle. You may want to consider a Brostrom if you’re experiencing the following symptoms from chronic ankle instability:
- Chronic ankle pain
- Recurrent ankle sprains
- Feeling like your ankle is “giving away”
You may also want to undergo a Brostrom surgery if you have not seen results from previous conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy, bracing and orthotic inserts.
How is a Lateral Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Surgery Performed?
The approach taken during a Brostrom surgery to fix a ligament depends on whether the injury to the ankle resulted in a tear or stretch. Another factor considered is the extent of damage done to the ligament(s) and tendons.
If the ligament is stretched, the surgeon cuts, shortens and sews the ligament back together. Conversely, if the ligament is torn, but is still somewhat attached to the fibula (outside leg bone), the ends are repaired and sewn back together. In cases where extreme tears have occurred, holes may need to be placed in the ankle before the ends of the ligaments may be reattached to the calf bone. As a final step, in most lateral ankle surgeries, the extensor retinaculum, or the band of tissue that wraps across the front of the ankle, is adjusted to reinforce the corrections made to the ligament.
Dr. McAlister is one of a few surgeons across the valley that performs this arthroscopically, or with a minimally invasive technique. He treats all levels of athletes and strives to get them on the field as safely and quickly as possible. This is typically done with smaller incisions and he also will utilize regenerative medicine therapies, such as platelet rich plasma, to enhance the biologic potential.
A Brostrom surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to go home the same day.
What to Expect After Lateral Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Surgery?
Immediately following a Brostrom surgery, a patient’s ankle will be stitched up and placed in a leg soft cast. About 10-14 after surgery, a tall walking fracture boot will be applied to their foot and leg, which they’ll be required to wear for three to four weeks. A patient will also be sent to physical therapy for several weeks, before resuming their normal daily activities within 10-12 weeks.
For all of your foot and ankle concerns, please consider Dr. Jeffrey E. McAlister, FACFAS, of Arcadia Orthopedics and Sports Medicine as your provider. Contact us or call his office today at (602) 955-5700 to schedule an appointment.