Ankle replacement, or ankle arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace the damaged articular surfaces of the human ankle joint with prosthetic components
Overview of Ankle Replacement
Total ankle replacement (also called ankle arthroplasty) is a surgical option for patients with arthritis of the ankle. This operation can relieve pain and maintain motion in the arthritic ankle joint.Arthritis can affect joints, over time, the smooth cartilage on the surface of the bones wears away. This can result in pain, inflammation, and swelling of the joints. Ankle replacement surgery is a procedure to replace this damaged joint to eliminate this pain and swelling for a long time. Arthritis does not have any kind of full treatment; all kinds of medications and procedures are just temporary and can just slow it down. But surgery can be the last (and maybe permanent) solution for this painful problem.
Ankle Replacement Recommended For:
- Patients with osteoarthritis who are older than 50
- Patients who have a history of severe ankle injuries
- Patients who have Destroyed ankle joint surfaces and degenerated joints
- Patients who are not significantly overweight
Before Ankle Replacement
Patients should stop taking certain medications such as Aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements prior to the surgery. They should stop smoking a few weeks before and after the surgery. They should stop drinking and eating around 6 hours before the surgery. Also, they may need additional imaging tests, like X-rays, CT scan, or MRI before the surgery.
During Ankle Replacement
Patients undergo general anesthesia during the procedure. The surgeon cleans the surgical area and makes an incision in the skin and muscle of the ankle and removes the damaged portions of tibia and talus. The new metal joint surfaces will be attached to the remaining joints using a special type of cement to hold them. A piece of plastic, that is then inserted between the two metal parts, to glide easily against each other. The surgeon closes the incisions with stitches.
After Ankle Replacement
Patients may stay at the hospital for 2 to 7 days after the surgery. They may need to wear a splint for a couple of weeks. It is recommended to elevate the leg for the first week after the surgery. They should avoid any weight bearing on the joint for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. The stitches will be removed 2 weeks after the surgery (can be done by any medical care specialist). The surgeon will prescribe painkillers and antibiotics after the procedure. Patients will need help from a physical therapist who will give some exercises to strengthen the repaired ankle.