Ankle Replacement Surgery, also known as Ankle Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to treat arthritis of the ankle. This surgery is done to relieve pain & maintain motion in the arthritic ankle joint & is an alternative to arthrodesis (ankle fusion) which relieves pain but eliminates motion within the joint. Ankle arthritis is a painful condition that affects quality of life as much as hip arthritis. Ankle replacement surgery though small in comparison to hip & knee replacement, but is slowly gaining popularity. There are two categories of patients who require ankle surgery – those who have injured or damaged the joint or developed osteoarthritis in their middle years & older people whose cartilage has degenerated with age.
Prevention & Treatment
Early prevention & treatment for arthritis may include rest, walking with support & medication for pain relief. Physical therapy may be prescribed in the early stages, although this can become less effective & damaging as the arthritis advances. Injections can provide temporary relief & is not considered a long-term solution. Occasionally, arthroscopic surgery is used to remove bone spurs & debris from the joint. When these solutions fail alternatives such as fusion or ankle replacement surgery is advised.
Ankle Replacement Surgery Procedure
During an ankle replacement, top of the anklebone (talus) & the bottom of shinbone (tibia) are replaced by metal & polyethylene components. The patient typically gains some range of motion in ankle as compared to an arthritic ankle. However, the patient may not have the complete range of motion of a healthy ankle. This prosthetic joint can move up, down, & side-to-side well enough so as to perform normal daily activities. New designs for ankle replacements have been developed & long-term studies have not proven how long the prosthetic ankle can last. This treatment is best advised for people suffering from severe pain in order to relieve discomfort & restore ankle motion.
Risks Associated with Ankle Replacement Surgery
There are certain risks & complications associated with ankle replacement surgery. Some of the most common complications following artificial ankle replacement are –
- Anesthesia – Problems can arise when anesthesia causes reactions. In rare cases, a patient may have allergic problems with anesthesia itself.
- Infections – Chances of getting infected is acute but very serious. Some infections may show up very early or may not become apparent for months, or even years, after the operation. Infection can spread into the artificial joint from other infected areas.
- Loosening – The major reason that artificial joints eventually fail is because of loosening of the metal or cement. Eventually loosening requires a revision.
- Nerve Injury – There is possibility of injury to the nerves or the blood vessels during surgery. It is however rare for the injury to be permanent.
Post Ankle Replacement Surgery & Recovery
Most surgeons recommend using crutches or a walker for 10 to 12 weeks following surgery. During this time, patients are made to wear a cast or ankle splint & not permitted to put weight on foot when standing or walking.
- X-rays help determine whether bone is attaching to the metal implant or not.
- Physical therapist will recommend a recovery program which usually takes about three months.
- First few therapy treatments will focus on controlling the pain & swelling from surgery. Heat treatments may also be used.
- Range-of-motion exercises are used to maximize mobility of the new ankle joint. Strengthening exercises are intended to help improve stability around the joint.
What Are Recent Advances in Ankle Replacement Surgery?
For years, foot surgeons & manufacturers are attempting to develop an implantable device for the ankle that would enhance the degree of function, safety & durability achieved by prostheses for the hips & knees. With recent advances in device design, total ankle replacement is fast becoming the treatment of choice for many patients with ankle arthritis & other disorders across the world.
Is Ankle Replacement Surgery Safe?
Though this surgery is safe, an ankle replacement is not a good option for every patient with ankle arthritis. Ankle replacement surgery is a complicated procedure & should only be performed by a specialist orthopaedic surgeon who will ensure safe & desired outcome from the surgery. Ankles that are severely deformed or unstable or have had an infection in the past may be better treated with fusion. Similarly, patients with serious medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, or problems with blood supply are generally not good candidates for ankle replacement.
Why Choose Ankle Replacement Surgery in India?
Patients looking for ankle replacement surgeries can get the best hospital facilities, experienced & qualified surgeons all under one roof in various orthopedic healthcare centres located in India. Importantly, India offers the best of emergency services, treatment & surgical procedures at cost effective & affordable prices. Major cities in India like Pune, Bangalore, Goa, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai have wide range of medical facilities for patients to choose from.Leave a reply →