Your doctor has recommended that you consider having surgery performed. The goal of the procedure is to attempts to reduce symptoms. Since almost all foot and ankle surgery is elective (not a matter of life and death), there are several things you need to know so you can make an informed decision concerning surgery.
Alternate Forms of Treatments
The doctor has explained possible alternatives and the prognosis, risks, and possible complications of each. The doctor has also discussed the positive and negative aspects of surgery. If you have any further questions concerning other treatments, please ask.
All surgeries are done with the utmost care to avoid infection. Sterile gowns, gloves, instruments, and procedures will be used. In the rare instance where infection does occur, treatment with antibiotics will usually solve the problem. In rare situations, hospitalization or further surgery may be required.
Healing is an individual process. No two persons heal the same. If your healing progresses slowly, prolonged tenderness, pain and swelling may also occur. In these instances, it may be necessary to continue in a “healing shoe”, or prolonged casting without walking to give the foot more time to rest and heal. Although inconvenient, these additional measures may help to ensure the best results possible.
Recurrence and Imperfect Results
Surgery is a careful blend of science and art. In some circumstances, the results can be less than desired or even worse than before surgery. Sometimes the original problem can have a recurrence. The techniques which we feel will give the best result will be used. If you feel that you have been given a guarantee of perfect results, please ask again.
Side Effects and Allergic Reactions
If you have ever had an unpleasant reaction to any medication or anesthesia, please inform us before your surgery. Also, if you are taking any medications or supplements, please inform us before the procedure. Even with these precautions, reactions sometimes occur. In this event, care will be given to consult with appropriate specialists, as needed.
Any time surgery is performed near a joint, there will be a certain amount of stiffness and scar tissue. Stiffness is generally short-term and resolves with physical therapy. In rare cases, it may be permanent or require further surgery.
We hope this will help you in making the best choice for your care. We firmly believe that while every patient cannot have a complete medical education, the more informative you have, the better you will feel about your final decision. Please feel free to ask about anything that you do not fully understand. Most of all, do not have the surgery if you have any unanswered questions.