The Surgeon’s Perspective

I was delighted to receive pictures from Kate. She was visiting Queensland and Brisbane following an ankle replacement on one side and a revision subtalar fusion on the other.  

Brisbane was where I finished my foot and ankle training way back in 2006!  

I first met Kate and her husband a couple of years before when she arrived very unhappy with a non-union of a subtalar fusion. 

Dealing with complications is very difficult for patients and their surgeons alike.  She expressed all the common anxieties including general disappointment and guilt that she had lost faith in her original surgeon. 

I explained that this is perfectly normal and offered to try and put it right. Getting a second opinion on a health problem is entirely reasonable. I am always surprised that we all don’t do it more often. I encourage my patients to do this if there is any doubt, anxiety or we don’t click.  

Fortunately Kate went into fuse very nicely at a revision procedure where I refused her subtalar joint with bone graft and also fused her talonavicular  joint. I incorporated the latter as it was becoming degenerate and also increases the chances of the subtalar joint fusing too.  

A year later she persuaded me to replace her ankle in the other side.  

Arthritic left ankle – pre-surgery

Left total ankle replacement

The Patient’s Perspective

I have just come back from Australia (plus a week in Malaysia on the way) and had to send you a few images and an enormous thank you.

My son lives close to a huge lake with wide flat path all round and I determined to walk there every day in an effort to build my stamina. I not only did that but even managed to walk on the beach, much harder and I did walk everyday rain or sun.

While my fused foot does complain, my ankle fusion has astonished me. It is totally pain and swelling free and I have so much flexibility. My Aussie physio daughter-in-law and my son were very impressed (not a frequent happening) with how mobile I am. I do not experience a single twinge.  My greatest achievement was 4.5 km walk, (partly unintentional!) and I even lost weight in spite of the wonderful patisseries on the coast.

Had I known of the coming financial situation I would never have felt able to have the ankle, but I am so, so glad I did, and I cannot adequately thank you. We have been able to look after young grandsons through the Summer, I am painting, learning Italian and generally more fully involved in life than I could have hoped for.

I am now planning to celebrate my 80th birthday from a very different perspective. So, if any other ancient and hobbling old ladies darken your door you can tell them from me that, though there is always a risk, it’s one so well worth taking.

Thank you again, Kate