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The Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy Procedure

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 8/11/2010

Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy is frequently done on patients with fasciitis or those who suffer from snake bites in the foot. It is a procedure that removes the fascia in the heal of the foot for relief of pressure.

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    The endoscopic plantar fasciotomy procedure is a kind of operation that removes the fascia in the foot for relief of tension or pressure. The fascia is a thin tissue that serves as a covering of the internal organs thus separating them from the muscles. It can be injured through chronic strain or trauma. The term fasciitis is used to describe an inflamed fascia and can develop through several conditions such as obesity, wearing of shoes that are unable to support the foot, and standing for long periods.

    Adults are usually at risk of fasciitis, especially those who engage in contact sports, those who were bitten by a snake, or those who sustain a high-voltage electrical burn. Likewise people who are overweight or who have severe burns are also at risk of the said condition.

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    The procedure is usually done by a general surgeon through the use of an endoscope. An endoscope is a thin tube with camera and other tools attached to it. After putting anesthesia on the patient, the surgeon makes a couple of tiny incisions on both sides of the patient's heel. The endoscope is then inserted through one of the incision allowing the surgeon to see the inside of the heel in a television monitor. A small knife is then inserted in the other incision. He then removes a portion of the fascia close to the heel, after which the incisions are closed.

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    Caring for the patient after the procedure often vary from one patient to another. Some people can walk without experiencing any pain almost immediately after the procedure, while some may be able to wear regular shoes at least three days after the procedure. Most patients can return to doing their regular activities, like jogging, within two weeks. Most patients however would require an arch support in their shoes for more comfort.

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    One common complication or risk associated with the procedure is the dropping of the foot’s arch that can potentially cause other foot concerns. Other less likely risks are those related with the use of anesthesia and postsurgical infections. Mortality due to the procedure is very rare.

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    Success Rate

    The procedure has a success rate of about 95%, and often offer relief by reducing the pressure in the limbs and reducing death of tissues.

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    Alternative Methods

    Endoscopic plantar fasciotomy procedure is usually considered as the last resort or option for people whose foot troubles can no longer be solved by other methods. Other alternative treatment include the use of anti-inflammatory medicines for several weeks. Experts also suggest that those who spend a lot of time standing may use an arch in their shoes to support their frame. Weight reduction is also essential for overweigh individuals who are suffering from fasciitis. For those bitten by snakes as well as those who were burned by electric shock or similar accidents, the procedure is mostly the best option.

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    Encyclopedia of Surgery: Fasciotomy

    Brooklyn Foot Health Center: Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy