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Repairing Ankle Fractures

Clip Number: 8 of 32
Presentation: Ankle Fracture
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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After the anesthesia has taken effect, a tourniquet or blood pressure cuff will be placed around your thigh to temporarily stop the blood flow to your foot and ankle.
To help reduce the chance of infection, the area will be scrubbed with a special soap, and you will be covered with sterile sheets. The only area exposed will be the place where the procedure is being performed.
Your doctor will begin the surgery by carefully making an incision over the broken bone. If more than one area is broken, more incisions may need to be made.
Your doctor will first locate the broken area of the ankle. If the fracture is outside the joint, the bones will then be lined up in their proper position. If the fracture goes into the joint, the ends of the bones will also be lined up in an attempt to recreate the original smoothness of the joint surface.
Your doctor has several options for eliminating the movement of these bones while they heal. A metal plate is a special piece of metal that has holes in it. Once aligned with your bone, screws can be placed through the plate, into the bone, on both sides of the fracture, keeping it stable during the healing process. If a metal plate is used, in most cases it will stay inside the body for the rest of your life.
Another option is to place a wire or screw across the fracture to secure it into place. They might look like this.
After all of your bones have been fixed, the area will be washed out and your skin will be closed with stitches or skin staples. A bandage will be applied to cover the wound and you will be placed in a cast or splint that goes up to your knee.

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