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Backward Foot Surgery



Backward Foot Surgery is an option used when limb salvage is no longer viable and an amputation is necessary. This type of surgery is also known as rotationplasty. It is mainly used in younger patients with bone cancer who need a portion of the thigh bone (femur) removed due to a tumour.  The lower leg is able to be attached to below the site of femur amputation. What was the ankle now functions as a working knee joint.


Backward foot surgery results in the best functionality possible for people where a lot of bone is lost. By turning the foot 180 degrees and replacing the knee joint, the foot is able to mimic the actions of the knee joint.  The toes point backwards and work like the shin bones, whilst providing an attachment for prosthesis. The heel and ankle joint face forwards and function as the knee joint, with the ability to flex and extend.  Backwards foot surgery can take anywhere from 6-10 hours and is a very delicate procedure as all of the nerves and blood vessels are reattached. Although there can be problems with blood supply, nerves, infection, bone healing and fractures. The main disadvantage of backwards foot surgery is the cosmetic appearance of the limb.


Who would need backward foot surgery?

The aim of backwards foot surgery is to provide the patient with a functioning limb that they can easily control. It gives the patient greater independence and the possibility to continue walking, running and enjoying other everyday activities.   Although there is a reduced range of motion in the joint it is still functional as nerves and blood vessels are reattached in the area. Backwards foot surgery provides the patient with better control over the artificial limb than a standard above the knee prosthesis. Generally the young people who have this surgery learn to operate their new leg in a matter of weeks.

Other common surgical options include amputation or a metal knee joint reconstruction.

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