Like any other surgery, foot surgery may result in some complications either during the procedure or in the post op recovery period. Mild complications of foot surgery may include excess bleeding, excess swelling, and mild post operative infection. More moderate injuries include loss of function, recurrence, tissue damage, and possibly amputations.
The indications for foot and ankle surgery may be emergent or elective. They may have different conclusions and perhaps different set of associated complications. Surgeons must be on the look out for possible complications to accurately diagnose and treat in a timely manner. This will also prevent worsening of the condition and avoid long term or permanent injury.
Mild post operative complications of foot and ankle surgery such as excess swelling, bleeding, and mild infections are more common. These are diagnosed and treated without difficulty. The more severe complications are the ones that require more immediate attention and treatment. These may include severe post operative infection, early recognition of loss of function, delayed or non healing of the surgical site, etc.
Complications do occur with foot and ankle surgery; however, ones that aren’t diagnosed and addressed are the ones that usually result in long term disability or permanent injury. Surgeons must have adequate communication with the patient. Everyone must be aware, patient included, that to prevent further damage the patient may be required to have additional procedures. They may be immediately or in the near future, to restore functionality and reduce injury.
The complication in itself does not usually result in injury rather the lack of diagnosis and suspicion followed by treatment. In the case, an expert witness can review the entire file including all physical examinations, all the peri-operative documentations including any and ALL imaging, pre-op and post-op, all recommendations and consultations to determine if the operating physician followed standard of care protocol in the per-operative setting.
Complications of foot and ankle surgery do occur, however it is not the complication itself that creates an injury. It’s, rather, lack of suspicion, adequate physical examination, and treatment in a timely manner resulting in injury and permanent disability.