Here, at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our highly regarded orthopedic surgeons are prepared to give you a safe surgical procedure that will help you feel brand new.
Due to injuries, diseases, or even old age, people might develop arthritis, painful joint inflammation. Because of this, moving the ankle and walking can become extremely painful. If everyday life is impaired because of this illness, it is recommended that the patient should get ankle replacement surgery.
The ankle is the joint that connects the leg bones, the tibia, and the fibula, to the foot. Between them, the ankle bone, also known as talus, is found. The ends of the bone are covered with cartilage, which helps the ankle move smoothly up and down. Due to old age, disease, or injury, the cartilage can wear off and this leads to a disease called arthritis, which can make moving the joint very painful.
Ankle replacement surgery is the procedure in which the ends of the tibia and the talus will be cut and replaced with a prosthesis to help the joint move better, without pain.
The patient will be put under general anesthesia so he doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort.
The surgeon will make an incision in the front of the ankle and cut the muscles to reach the ankle joint.
Then, he will carefully cut the ends of the tibia and the talus to remove the diseased parts of the bones.
The doctor will hollow the two bones so he can fit the prosthesis into the ankle.
It is made of a mix of metal and plastic and its role is to replace the ankle.
Once it is perfectly fitted, the surgeon will close the incision with stitches.
Ankle replacement surgery has the following benefits:
- The patient will not feel constant pain in the ankle anymore
- The patient will be able to walk and run normally
- Day-to-day life comfort will be greater
- The patient will regain full mobility in his ankle
Since this is an open surgery and bones have to be cut, the recovery period can be a long one. After the procedure is done, the patient will have to stay 2 to 3 days in the hospital to learn to walk with crutches or walkers and to be monitored. If after this period he can leave, he will wear a splint. The patient will be prescribed painkillers. Two weeks after the surgery, the stitches will be removed. After 6 weeks, if his progress is fine, the patient can begin to walk without crutches and return to work. He will have to do physical therapy for a few months. It can take up to a year, or even more in some cases, for the patient to do his former activities the way he used to. With this said, when he will be able to walk and run, he will feel the difference between arthritis and disease-free.
This is not an easy surgery, so there are some risks attached to it. The wounds can get infected and bleed severely. When being hollowed, the bone can actually fracture. In some cases, the bone doesn’t heal properly with the ankle replacement. During the incision, there could be some nerve or blood vessel damage.