Patients who suffer from ankle arthritis, a bone fracture or other conditions in which the ankle joint has experienced deterioration may consider ankle arthroplasty, or ankle replacement, as a possible treatment. Ankle arthroplasty is a surgical procedure in which the damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle joint are replaced with artificial implants, or prosthetics. The procedure would help relieve pain in the ankle while also allowing the patient to still maintain motion in the arthritic ankle joint.
Ankle arthroplasty is typically done with the patient under general anesthesia. After making a surgical cut in your ankle to expose the ankle joint, the surgeon will proceed to cut and remove the damaged bone cartilage. This will allow for the placement of the artificial implants, or prosthetics, which will replace the damaged joint. After completion, the wound is then closed with stitches or staples.
After surgery, patients will most likely remain in the hospital for at least one night until the surgical wound is healed. Patients will then work on rehabilitation and will learn exercises that will allow them to move easier. Typically, a patient will be placed into a cast or splint post-surgery.
Ankle arthroplasty is often considered when conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication, bracing or physical therapy fail to decrease pain. The surgical procedure is often an alternative for arthrodesis, or ankle fusion, which also relieves pain but does not allow for motion in the ankle joint.