It should be emphasised that serious complications are rare but it is important that all patients are informed of these risks. Mr Clarke will go through these in detail at the time of the initial consultation and also at the time of consenting for surgery. Many patients have multiple medical problems in the senior decades of life. The vast majority of patients are still accepted for surgery with a high proportion being performed under a spinal anaesthetic which freezes the lower legs giving complete pain relief. This can be performed with extra sedation if patients wish. Alternatively a full general anaesthetic is usually available. If patients have serious medical problems a comprehensive anaesthetic assessment may be carried out prior to the surgery to assess these risks in detail.

Surgical complications:

  • Deep infection: Less than 1%
  • Lower leg nerve or blood vessel damage: Very rare, less than 0.1%.
  • Post operative stiffness.
  • Risk of fatal clots is generally very rare. All patients are treated with low molecular weight Heparin, which is a tiny injection once per day, which helps to reduce the risk of clots by 50%.
  • Potentially life threatening complications would be very rare, such as heart attacks and strokes. It should be emphasised that this is a risk at any time in the normal population of an older age group. These risks are generally small.
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: This is a rare condition which causes an overactivity of pain nerves affecting the leg which can happen with any surgical procedure.
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