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What Is A Gastrocnemius Resection?
Gastrocnemius resection, also known as gastrocnemius recession, is a surgical procedure performed to lengthen the gastrocnemius muscle in the calf. The gastrocnemius is one of the two major muscles that make up the calf, along with the soleus muscle. When the gastrocnemius muscle is excessively tight or contracted, it can cause various foot and ankle problems, such as equinus contracture, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
The procedure is usually performed to address conditions where the tightness of the gastrocnemius muscle is limiting the range of motion in the ankle joint or causing undue stress on other structures of the foot. By lengthening the muscle, the ankle joint can achieve a more neutral position, reducing strain and improving overall foot function.
During the gastrocnemius resection procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the back of the calf to access the gastrocnemius muscle. The surgeon then releases a portion of the muscle, which effectively lengthens it. The amount of muscle released depends on the individual’s specific condition and the degree of tightness.
The procedure can be performed as an open surgery or using a minimally invasive technique. Minimally invasive methods, such as endoscopy, involve using small incisions and a tiny camera (endoscope) to guide the surgeon during the procedure.
Following the gastrocnemius resection, the incision is closed with sutures, and the leg is typically immobilized with a cast or a splint to protect the surgical site during the initial healing phase.
Recovery from the surgery involves a period of non-weight-bearing on the affected leg, followed by gradual weight-bearing and physical therapy. The physical therapy is crucial to regain strength, flexibility, and function in the calf muscle and ankle joint.
Gastrocnemius resection is generally considered a safe procedure with a high success rate in improving ankle flexibility and relieving foot and ankle problems associated with tightness in the gastrocnemius muscle. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications, such as infection, blood clots, and delayed wound healing. The decision to undergo gastrocnemius resection is made after a thorough evaluation and discussion with an orthopedic surgeon, who will assess the individual’s specific condition, medical history, and overall health to determine if the procedure is the appropriate treatment option.