Ankle Surgery-Screw Removal-Anyone had this done?

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My first surgery for my ankle was July 8th when I had to get a rod and ten screws on my fibula about halfway up, two screws in my ankle, one at the very bottom of my tibia going up at an angle for a hairline fracture and another long screw in my fibula going straight through and into my tibia. I'm getting the last screw removed and am not sure what to expect.. Anyone experienced something like this? I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but I'm still learning how to walk from the hardware being put in so I'm really not looking forward to this. Experience? How long is recovery? Walking after?

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  • Posted

    Hello -    I had similar surgery to yourself and my plates, screws and pins are to stay in place forever as far as I'm concerned - unless they begin to give me trouble.

    I had my surgery on 29th July so am exactly 3 months on now and I'm walking very well now and am pleased with my progress.      I can't imagine even thinking about having the hardware removed, certainly not in the first twelve months anyway.

    I have heard that recovery from removal of the hardware is much easier than from the surgery, so hopefully, you'll be ok.   Wishing you the very best of luck.

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    • Posted

      Hey paul you had surgery 2days after me ..can you give me deals on how u are doing? If u dont mind me askin how old are you..I Am 26 i been doing great i didnt have to do therapy are anything i still have a limp from time to time. I have plates and screws ..up into last week it look like my incision is opening back up ...MY doctor said he may have to take the hardware out but i really dont want that
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    • Posted

      Hi Shantell -    Well I'm doing really well.    I'm a very young 72 !!!!   In April of this year I needed to have my right hip replaced.    It was a breeze.  I recovered very well and was walking without any aid five weeks after surgery.    Then three months exactly after my hip replacement, I manage to fall from top to bottom of our staircase at home.   I was so horrified that I might damage my new hip but no, instead I break my ankle in two places and dislocate my Talus joint.   That was the 18th July.  I had surgery 12 days later and now have a plate with 8 scres on the outer side of my ankle and 2 long screws going through on an angle on the inner side of my ankle.  I had four casts in two weeks and then was fitted with an air-walker boot.   This was a relief because I was told I could remove it as much as I wished providing I wasn't walking and I could sleep without it.   I am lucky to have a very supportive husband whose looked after me so well during these past months.   I've been able to keep my leg elevated all the time and iced on the hour during daylight hours.  

      I've been seeing my Physio on a weekly basis since two weeks post surgery.  He's been wonderful and very bullish, encouraging me to do my exercises which I've done religiously three times every day.  It's paid off for me and I'm now getting back to a normal way of life.    I'm walking normally, without any aids and without any limp.   I'm doing everyday jobs around the house and I would dearly love to get out into the garden - it's the spiders which are stopping me !!!!!  

      I'm now booked to have my left hip replaced at the end of January.

      I think it's very sad that you are now faced with having to have some of the hardware removed from your ankle.   It must be dreadful to have the incision opening up.    Have to admit that my inner ankle incision took a long time to look good.   It healed very well, they both did and now I hardly have any sign of the incisions, they've almost entirely disappeared but the inner one did look angry for a while and I did think myself that the screws were causing a problem and pain.  But since I've been walking properly, that feeling has gone and the incision looks good.

      Let us all know how you get on with this next challenge.  Stay positive and strong and you'll be fine.   Best of luck - Pauline 

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  • Posted

    Hi Laken, I will also have to have my (2) screws removed, sometime early next year.  And like you, I'm not looking forward to it.  Even if it is a "quick" surgery, we still have to go through all the pre surgery stuff. 

    ?I had my surgery on Friday, May 13th.  I'm still limping and probably always will.  It gets worse at bedtime and then when I get up for work in the mornings, I limp terribly.  But after I have my shoes on, I walk better - still with a limp, but not near as bad as it is at bedtime or morning. 

    ?You asked some great questions and I also look forward to seeing what folks say, who have had their screws removed. 

    Beth

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    • Posted

      I had plates and screws put in my ankle three or so years ago.  I limped badly.  They didn't align my ankle correctly and it turns inward.  I had to go have an orthotic insole made to support my foot.  It helped to use it.  But after three years, my ankle has gotten stronger.  I can walk in flat shoes without.  If I were on my feet for long periods, I might still need it then.  I wonder if having my hardware removed would help my ankle stand up straight?  Going to look into it.  Has yours gotten any better?

      Loretta

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  • Posted

    Hey Laken.  I had a plate with 10 screws as well as the long syndesmosis screw (total of 11 screws) during on 3/9/2016 with 21 stitches.  My surgery was called Lateral Malleolus ORIF.  On 5/16/16, (this was planned from the beginning) I had the syndesmosis screw removed which most doctors do as routine after the bones have healed since there is a concern of it breaking.  However, there is some controversy, some doctors to not remove it as they are not concerned with breakage.  I'm thinking this is what you are talking about vs. having ALL the screws/hardware being removed??

    Anyway, the 2nd surgery to remove that long screw for me was very simple.  It was done outpatient and I only had ONE stitch afterwards and it healed very quickly.  Doctor did not allow me to walk before hand but I was given the okay to weight bear as tolerated directly after 2nd surgery.  If you are already walking, I think it will be even easier.  The surgery is very minor compared to first, so not to worry.  I'm glad my doctor did this as routine.  In fact, I'm hoping to get the remainder of hardware out ASAP as it still causes me issues 8 month plus out.

    If this procedure is what you are talking about, google "syndesmosis screw removal" and you will find more info.

    Seems your are already up and working through your recovery so I'm thinking this minor event will not impede or back step your progress.  My opinion is that It should actually help you move forward and get back to normal faster.  Best of luck to you.    

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    • Posted

      Hi, I also want to thank you for all the wonderful information and sharing how you did.  It made me feel a little better, as I have to have my (2) screws removed early next year.  Thanks again!  :-)

      Beth

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    • Posted

      I've also have a syndesmosis screw that is going to be removed very soon (one of the following weeks). I had an operation in 21 Sempember.

      I have some questions:

      What kind of anesthisia did the doctors use for the syndesmosis removal? I'm so much conserned about the pre-surgery preparation, I will probably have a spinal injection.

      Are you having physiotherapy sessions and how many were you advised to do?

      Thank you!

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    • Posted

      Hi Irini, I had both a general and nerve block (spinal injection) for the first surgery.  The second I just had just a general.  My doctor didn't ask but knows I have high anxiety so that's why I think he did the general.  Many folks do have just the block for the syde screw removal.  I think they would do less of a block (wears off quicker) so it does not last as long since it's a much shorter surgery and after pain much less.  For example, the block may last 12 hours instead of 24 or so.  Seems it may be better for your overall body/throat/lungs to recover with just a block if you know what I mean.  A general is very hard on some folks depending on age and other factors such as smoking, heart problems, etc.  I know everyone is different but truthfully, I didn't have hardly any pain after 2nd surgery so the general was fine for me.  So if your doctor is asking, then it's up to you.

      Everyone is different on the physio thing.  My doctor didn't give me much guidance but I went 2 X per week over the next 3 months or so and did home exercises in between pretty much daily. My first two sessions were aqua therapy.  The pool was easier to start for me as I have a hip problem on the same side.  It probably took me a good 4 - 5 weeks before I was walking unassisted.  Had to ice and elevate a lot throughout the days, but remember I was non weight bearing for 11 weeks or so.  Some start walking unassisted earlier and for some it takes longer depending on so many factors including extent of original injury.  And once walking unassisted, most still have challenges like walking distances, etc.  I focused too much on other folks time frames, drove myself crazy until I realized you have to go at your own individual pace.  Some people are able to go to physio 3x per week but it's so individual based on personal factors, age, other health issues and so on.  The only thing I will stress is not to overdo it, be your own guide, some pain is normal but back off if it's too much or you could set yourself back. 

      I hope that was helpful and not confusing.  Wishing you all the best.   

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    • Posted

      My doctor told me I would be put to sleep for my 2nd surgery to remove the (2) screws.  I sure do wish I could get it over with before Christmas, but it won't be until the beginning of next year.  :-(

      Beth

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    • Posted

      Honestly if given the option, I would have opted for sleep.  I'm just a Nervous Nelly when it comes to stuff like that, lol.  I know your gonna do just great.  But I know how impatient we can get when waiting for it to be over and done with.  Hopefully you'll be surrounded by family and friends (the ones you like, ha) and can still enjoy the holidays.  Next year this will just be a memory.  My best to you and yours for a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a New Year that will be filled with many steps forward on your road to a full recovery :-)

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    • Posted

      angela, just reading your post, put a smile on my face!  You sound like a lovely person and anyone who calls you a friend, is a lucky person, indeed!  You really did brighten my day!  I'm a Nervous Nelly too!  BIG TIME!  When they reset my foot and put me to sleep with that "white milk" stuff - I'd never ever been sedated and I started to freak, the last second!  Before I fell out!  When I woke up (thank you God), they had reset my ankle (though it wouldn't hold so that is why I had surgery 2 days later), whoever the doctor was that night, decided that in addition to my pain medication, he decided I needed something for anxiety! LOL!!!!!!!  But yeah - I'm definitely a nervous nelly!  cheesygrin

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    • Posted

      Thank you! Everything you said sounds exactly like what I'm having to go through. Makes me feel a lot better because surgery is tomorrow and I've definitely been stressing it. Crazy how close the amount of hardware and even stitches you had is almost spot on with mine. I will be getting the other hardware out asap but like you said, my doctor required this screw to come out first and the rest to stay in until they've been in for a year

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