Am I a Good Candidate for Ankle Replacement Surgery?
Ankle arthritis can make daily activities like walking extremely painful and difficult. If you've tried nonsurgical treatments such as medication that hasn’t provided enough relief, ankle replacement surgery may be a good option.
In this blog, the orthopaedic physicians at Specialty Orthopaedics in Harrison, NY explain whether you might be a good candidate for ankle replacement surgery:
What is ankle replacement surgery?
Ankle replacement surgery – also called ankle arthroplasty – is a procedure used to replaced bone and cartilage that’s been damaged by arthritis. Your surgeon will use artificial joint parts to replace your bones.
Why is it used?
This type of surgery is used to restore mobility and relieve pain in the ankle caused by arthritis. It’s an alternative to ankle fusion, which helps relieve pain but eliminates your ankle’s motion.
What does the process involve?
Ankle replacement surgery is performed after you receive general anesthesia or a nerve block. A tourniquet will be applied, and your surgeon will cut the ankle bone either from the front or the side. The artificial components that recreate the ankle joint will then be placed, and the wound will be closed using stitches or staples. A splint is applied, and you’ll have to wear a cast or cast boot to let the implants heal in place.
You may spend a few nights in the hospital after your surgery to ensure that your ankle stays elevated during this time. After the wound heals, your surgeon may ask you to try some gentle exercises that don’t put any weight on your ankle.
Who makes a good candidate for ankle replacement surgery?
You may be a good candidate for this surgery if you have pain that interferes with your daily activities. If other treatments for the pain, such as bracing or over-the-counter medication, aren’t providing enough relief, you may want to consider ankle replacement surgery if your doctor recommends it.
What are the benefits of this surgery?
Ankle replacement surgery provides the following benefits:
- Relieves pain – including pain when you put weight on your ankle
- Maintains mobility – unlike the ankle fusion procedure
- Protects surrounding joints – surrounding joints are protected from increased wear, which is especially important if arthritis is affecting them
- Shorter recovery time – when compared to ankle fusion
What’s the recovery time like?
You’ll go home from the hospital when your pain can be controlled without medication from an IV and you can walk on crutches or using a walker. Your doctor will remove your sutures in about two weeks, and about six weeks after surgery, X-rays will help determine whether your ankle can bear weight or if you’ll still need to use crutches. For about four weeks, you’ll put approximately half your weight on the leg with the replacement ankle, and you’ll be able to put more weight on it as the doctor directs.
If you’re interested in learning whether you might be a good candidate for ankle replacement surgery, make an appointment today with Specialty Orthopaedics of Harrison, NY. We provide a comprehensive treatment of conditions such as arthritis by using innovative conservative and surgical treatments such as ankle replacement.