Ankle replacement surgery is the replacement of a damaged ankle joint with an artificial implant. The ankle is the pivotal point at which the whole walking ability is sustained. However, major damages, gradual wear, and tear, or arthritis often lead to total ankle replacement conditions. Orthopedic suggests that arthritis is the effect of obtained wear and tear of the ankle. Arthritis affects the joint and over the time, the smooth cartilage on the surface of the bone wears away. This condition can result into pain, inflammation, and swelling of your joint.
What Is Ankle Replacement Surgery?
Ankle replacement surgery is more of an implasty and is more of a treatment involving implants for an artificial ankle. It is the procedure to replace the damaged joint to eliminate the pain and swelling. The decision to have surgery is primarily based on the pain that interferes with activities one usually performs in the course of a day. When this pain becomes unbearable and cannot be controlled by bracing over-the-counter medications, it is appropriate to consider surgery.
What Exactly Happens In The Surgery?
Typically the procedure takes place under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a cut in the front and sides of your ankle and remove the damaged bone and cartilage. Then he will attach artificial metal joints to the remaining bone surface with a piece of plastic inserted between them. The operation normally takes about 2 and a half hour.
What Are The Risks Of Ankle Replacement Surgery?
In most of the cases, this surgery goes really well. It is generally very successful. But just like other surgeries, it does have some risks. Such as:
- Damage to nearby nerves
- Blood clot
- The bones not joining together properly
- Misalignment of the bones
- New arthritis develops in neighboring joints
- Loosening of the ankles in the future life
- Bone fractures
- Wearing out of the components
- What Happens After The Surgery?
After the surgery, your medical team will continue to monitor you carefully as you recover. Your leg will be numb for up to 18 hours during and after the surgery. After some time you may feel significant pain but pain management medicines will help ease the pain.
After your surgery, you will need to use crutches or a walker for several weeks because you have to keep your weight off your new ankle for the next few weeks. You will also need to wear splints for a couple of weeks. However, your physiotherapist will give you instructions about how to move your foot while you recover. Make sure you keep all your follow-up appointments and instructions. It may take several months before you can return all your previous activities. So, stay strong!