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Ankle Stabilization (Brostrom Procedure)
Dr. James Chen, M.D. - In San Francisco, CA



A surgical procedure performed to repair torn ligaments of ankle and restore joint stability. An incision is made along the outer bony prominence of the ankle. A careful dissection is carried out to identify several soft tissue structures including the extensor retinaculum, anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), and the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL). The ATFL is responsible for much of the ankle instability and will be repaired during the surgery. If the CFL is torn it too will be repaired. To repair the ligaments holes are drilled at bony attachment sites on the fibula bone. Anchors with attached sutures are introduced into the tunnels. The sutures are then passed through free ends of the ATFL and CFL ligaments and tied down to secure them at the attachment site. The extensor retinaculum is then sutured to the outer layer of bone on the fibula for added stability. An ankle exam is performed to ensure stability of the repair and the joint.

Common Questions about Ankle Stabilization (Brostrom Procedure)

How does instability happen and when should I consider surgery?

Ankle instability occurs when ligaments related to the ankle are stretched or in some cases torn due to a sprain. Surgery for this ailment should be considered if the ankle is unstable and sprain easily and if physical therapy and bracing do not alleviate symptoms of instability.

What is the surgical process like?

Ankle stabilization with the Brostrom procedure occurs when the torn or stretched ligaments are sewn together.

What is the recovery process like?

Following the surgery, patients are placed in a cast and use crutches to avoid weight bearing on the ankle. After two weeks, the patient is transitioned into a removable walking boot and then by another two weeks are transitioned into an ankle brace. Patients start attending physical therapy when instructed by their physician and continue for the duration of their recovery process.

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