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What is Ankle Replacement Surgery?
Ankle Replacement Surgery or Ankle Arthroplasty is performed when the ankle joint has been severely damaged and prosthetics are required.
How is Ankle Replacement Surgery Performed?
How to Prepare for the Surgery
- An incision is made in the front part of the ankle and the ankle joint is exposed.
- The muscle tissues and blood vessels are moved to the side and then the damaged bones are removed.
- After this, the tibia, fibula, and talus that stay in place are reshaped.
- The prosthetic joint parts are then connected with the help of special glue that firmly holds them.
- Screws may be attached to the fibula and tibia that help to hold the artificial ankle.
- Then a bone graft is placed between the tops of the fibula and tibia, which provides more stability to the new ankle.
- The muscles and blood vessels are then placed back to their original locations and the incision is closed with stitches.
- A brace may be used keep the ankle rigid.
- The doctor should be informed about any medication that the patient may be taking.
- Certain medication that the patient is taking may be stopped two weeks before the surgery.
- The patient may be required to take certain drugs on the day of the surgery.
- The doctor should be informed about any ailments or medical condition of the patient.
- The doctor should be informed if the patient has been drinking alcohol.
- The patient should stop smoking some weeks before the surgery to recover soon after the surgery.
- The patient will be thoroughly examined by the doctor.
- The patient may need to meet the physical therapist who will be looking after the patient’s rehabilitation after the surgery.
Approximately 4 days
General Anesthesia or Spinal Anesthesia
- A cast will hold the patient’s ankle after the surgery.
- For a day or two, a drainage tube will be placed in the ankle joint to drain blood.
- Physical therapy may be required to help the patient learn exercises and move the ankle.
- The patient’s foot may be elevated while resting or sleeping to prevent excess swelling.
- The patient may start putting weight on the leg six weeks after the surgery.
- The patient can start driving eight weeks after the surgery.
- The surgeon will check the ankle within five to seven days after the surgery.
- The stitches are removed in 10 to 14 days.
- Pain medication may be prescribed to reduce the pain.
- Damage to the nerves
- Injury to the blood vessels
- Breakage of bones during the surgery
- Loosening of the prosthetic joint in due course
- Weakness and instability of the ankle
- Prosthetic joint dislocation
- Allergic reaction to the prosthetic joint
- Risks of anesthesia
- The patient should continue keeping the ankle raised above the level of the heart for many days. Pillows may be used to support the ankle while sleeping or sitting.
- The patient will need to use crutches or a walker to move around for 10 to 12 weeks after the surgery. While using these, the patient should not put weight on the ankle.
- X-rays should be taken many times after the surgery to check the healing.
- The patient should begin physical therapy to ease pain, strengthen muscles and control swelling. Other exercises will help the patient’s mobility. The therapist will also help the patient practice using crutches.
Learn more about Ankle Replacement