An Introduction To Orthopaedic Revision Surgery

A Background To Orthopaedic Revision Surgery

The need for orthopaedic revision surgery is fortunately very rare. However despite previous surgery a patient may continue to have problems or get a recurrence of symptoms.

Often the issues are complex, and multifactorial. Contrary to what most people think it is very rarely due to a previous “bad” operation. While it might be a complication of previous surgery it is more often due to an entirely new problem. It should be noted that all surgeons have complications and no operation exists that has a 100% success rate.

Orthopaedic revision surgery is a complex area but The London Foot & Ankle Clinic examines and treats each patient on an individual basis. This ensures that we can understand what is causing the problem and how to best address it.

Possible Reasons For Requiring Orthopaedeic Revision Surgery

As we elluded above, there are many reasons why someone may require revision surgery after their orthopaedic surgery.

To give you a clearer idea on when it would be a suitable route to consider, we have compiled a list of possible circumstances:

Metalwork/Hardware Failure (pins, plates and screws etc)

  • As swelling subsides metalwork can irritate the skin
  • Loosening of metalwork
  • Failure of hardware

Failure of Initial Foot and Ankle Surgery

  • Incorrect initial diagnosis
  • Complications during surgery
  • Complication post surgery
  • Surgery unsuccessful

Recurrence of Original Foot and Ankle Condition or Injury

Implant Failure (joint replacement surgery)

  • Loosening of prosthesis
  • Soft tissue reaction
  • Bone cysts 
  • Bone loss
  • Liner wear
  • Breakage of implant

Examples of patients requiring orthopaedic revision surgery.



A – radiograph of a foot with a failed 1st MTP joint fusion B – patient had successful revision 1st MTP joint fusion at the London Foot and Ankle Clinic


Clinical picture of a foot after a bunion operation with prominent screw that was causing pain. The screw was removed through a small stab incision and the patient had an excellent outcome.

loose metalwork ankle 2

Radiograph of an ankle demonstrating a loose screw. This patient was treated in another hospital for a severe ankle fracture. Revision surgery involved not just removal of metalwork but an ankle fusion as well.