Diabetic Reconstructive Foot Surgery

Diabetic patients with foot problems often experience pain, difficulty walking and other symptoms that may affect their overall quality of life. Surgery is often needed to correct these conditions, to keep the foot as healthy as possible and to prevent more serious problems. All too frequently, foot and ankle deformities in diabetic patients are the result of longtime neglect, complicated by the peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation common in diabetics.

It has been a relatively recent discovery that surgical corrections for such deformities, in spite of the increased risk of infection and other complications in diabetic patients, can not only be crucial in improving quality of life, but can prevent more serious future difficulties. Moreover, with carefully implemented modern techniques, these procedures can be performed safely and successfully. Diabetic reconstructive foot surgery has several goals. These include:

  • Pain reduction
  • Reduction of pressure on affected areas
  • Restoration of function
  • Restoration of stability
  • Improved appearance
  • Salvation of limb (preventing amputation)

Since foot and ankle deformities can be the cause of serious disability, interfering with employment and lifestyle, reconstruction of the lower limb can be revitalizing. Such surgery also reduces the possible necessity for future amputation and its concomitant trauma.

Reconstructive surgery of the foot or ankle involves complex surgical procedures, even more complex in patients with diabetes, often requiring multidisciplinary medical teams including plastic surgeons. Such repairs may involve bone, joint, tendon, tissue or skin, and may necessitate the implantation of devices to provide fixation, such as pins, staples, wires, or compression screws. In many cases, such surgeries can be performed with minimally invasive techniques and some may be performed outpatient. The length of recovery depends on the severity of the deformity and on the type of repair being performed.

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