Total ankle replacement surgery alleviates pain, immobility and damage in the ankle joint. This procedure is typically a long-term treatment to an arthritic joint.
What is it?
Total ankle replacement surgery, also known as total ankle arthroplasty, is usually a response to arthritic damage in the ankle joint. An orthopedic surgeon makes incisions on the inside or outside of the ankle, depending on the patient’s needs, where the surgeon cuts the bone to allow for an artificial implant. If a patient demonstrates chronic pain or arthritis damage, total ankle replacement surgery may be a solution.
What should I do to prepare?
Before receiving surgery, the patient should consult with a physician or surgeon to determine if this surgery is the proper course of action. Medication plans and fasting routines may be necessary depending on the surgeon’s guidelines. Total ankle replacement is typically an inpatient procedure, so the patient should expect to remain at the hospital for post-surgical evaluation. Additionally, the patient should arrange travel accommodations in advance.
What happens during the process?
First, a local or general anesthetic is administered to the patient. When this medication begins to take effect, the surgeon accesses the bone by making careful incisions to the right or left side of the ankle, depending on the needs of the patient. The ankle joint is reconstructed through the cutting of the bone followed by a placement of a durable implant. The Achilles tendon or calf muscle may require a lengthening procedure if it is too tight to accommodate the implant.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Multiple risks accompany surgical procedures, including but not limited to improper anesthesia, infections, nerve damage, excessive bleeding and inappropriate bone fracture. In some cases, the ankle implant may fail to fuse with the bone, making the treatment ineffective.
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