Ankle Replacement Surgery
Ankle replacement surgery is used to treat the pain and immobility of severe end stage arthritis that has not responded to non-surgical treatments. The goal of ankle joint replacement surgery is to eliminate your pain and increase the mobility of your ankle joint. Arthritis is a general term covering numerous conditions where the joint surfaces wear out. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface made of cartilage that allows pain free movement in the joint. This surface can wear out for a number of reasons. Often the definite cause is unknown. When the articular cartilage wears out, the bone ends rub on one another causing pain. There are numerous conditions that can cause arthritis and often the exact cause is never known.
Types of Ankle Replacement Surgery
Total ankle replacement surgery, also known as Total ankle arthroplasty or Endoprosthetic ankle replacement is a procedure performed for patients with advanced ankle osteoarthritis. The aim of an ankle replacement is to eradicate persistent pain and preserve ankle mobility
Ankle replacement replaces the damaged parts of the three bones that make up the ankle joint. Artificial joint parts (prosthetics) are used to replace your own bones. They come in different sizes to fit different-size people.
Ankle joint replacement surgery may be recommended by your surgeon for the treatment of severe end stage arthritis that has not responded to conservative treatment options such as medication or injections.
Other indications for ankle joint replacement surgery include:
• Severe ankle fracture in older patients with osteoporosis, a disease that causes bone loss raises the risk of increased fractures.
• Tumour or growth in the ankle joint
• History of previous ankle surgery
Ankle replacement involves replacing the natural surfaces of the ankle joint which have degenerated with an artificial cover known as prosthesis.
The ankle replacement has three components. Two of the components cover the joint and in the middle there is a third, mobile component. This allows for greater movement and reduces the stress between the bone and the implants.
The component which covers the part of the ankle joint known as the tibia is flat. It is integrated into the bone with a short stem. The component which covers the part of the ankle joint known as the talus is curved and fixed into place with pegs. All the components are covered in a bioactive coating which encourages the patient's own bone to grow into the artificial fixtures.
This type of operation allows the patient to preserve the movement that they have and gain a few degrees. Its success lies in the way that the ankle replacement integrates into the natural bone. The use of a mobile plastic bearing means the prosthesis is under much less stress and will stay in place a lot longer than the old two-part ankle joint replacements.
• Relieve pain and restore joint function in patients with end-stage degenerative joint disease resulting from osteoarthritis, traumatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
• It helps protect the surrounding joints (eg. subtalar joint) compared to an ankle fusion
• Gives a good useable range of movement of ankle
• Ability to maintain movement in the joint
• Encourages a more normal walking gait pattern
This procedure requires a three to five day hospital stay after the surgery, during which you will be monitored. The splint will be removed a few days after the procedure so that you may begin physical therapy exercises. These exercises are an important part of the healing process, and adherence to them will help you return to pain free mobility much faster. After you leave the hospital, it is important that you do not apply weight to the ankle for at least six weeks. Some patients may require an ankle support for up to a year.
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