The ankle block is a regional anesthetic technique used in conjunction with sedation or a light general anesthesia for surgeries of the foot. It is a safe and effective block that provides both safe and excellent surgical anesthesia and post-operative pain control.
During a preoperative phone interview the procedure as well as its risks and benefits will be discussed with you in detail. On arrival to the ASC prep area you will be asked to sign a consent for the procedure. You will then be attached to the usual monitors: a blood pressure cuff, a light sensor to measure your blood oxygen level will be attached to your finger, and EKG leads will be placed on your chest. You will receive some sedation through your intravenous prior to placement of the block, which both relaxes you and will likely cause you to have little or no recollection of the block placement.
Next, the anesthesiologist will cleanse your ankle and foot on the operative side with an antiseptic solution. He or she will use both anatomical landmarks and an ultrasound machine to find the desired location for the ankle block.
Once the best locations are found, the anesthesiologist will numb the skin with some local anesthetic. Next he or she will slowly insert a needle the size of a paperclip through the skin. Your anesthesiologist will utilize ultrasound to guide the needle to the proper locations near the nerves. The ankle block requires a series of 3 to 5 injections of a long acting Novocain like medicine around the ankle just below the skin. This procedure usually takes only a few minutes to perform.
The block takes approximately 15-20 minutes to work. You will notice your foot gradually becoming more numb. Once in the operating room, you will again be attached to the usual monitors and positioned by the surgeon. You will receive relatively deep levels of sedation or a light general anesthetic because it allows for better blood pressure control, less bleeding, and ultimately more patient comfort.
After the surgery and transport to the recovery room, the sedation or general anesthesia will begin to wear off. You will notice that you will have little or no pain in your foot.
The numbness and weakness from the block should last from 6-18 hrs. As it begins to wear off you should start your pain medicine that was prescribed by the surgeon.