Ankle replacement surgery began in Europe during the 1970’s. Since that time the technology has been researched and refined throughout the world. The technique, implant designs, materials and instrumentation has improved to accommodate the rigorous demands of ankle joint function. For those patients who suffer from end-stage osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis ankle replacement surgery has become an attractive treatment option. In previous years, an ankle arthrodesis or fusion (fusing the leg bones to the ankle bone), which restricts motion to the ankle joint, has been the sole treatment option for these patients. Ankle joint arthrodesis has been the “Gold Standard” for ankle joint salvage. However, this procedure is not without disadvantages and complications. The disadvantages of ankle arthrodesis include restriction of ankle motion causing a limp, transference of stress loads to adjacent joints increasing the risk of joint damage, and nonunion (when the ankle joint fails to unite). In patients that meet the criteria for implantation, ankle joint replacement affords the patient improved ankle joint motion which allows for a more normal gait cycle, decreases adjacent joint stress loads and reduces or completely eliminates ankle pain.

Commonly used FDA approved total ankle joint implants are: InBone, Infinity (Wright Medical), Salto-Talaris, XT (Tornier), STAR (Stryker) and the Zimmer Trabecular Metal Total Ankle (Zimmer). Certain implants offer distinct benefits and should be selected based on specific patient criteria.

 

Pre- Op
Pre- Op

Intra- Op

Intra- Op



6 Week Post- Op

6 Week Post- Op
   

 

Typically, the procedure takes approximately two-three hours to complete. General or spinal anesthesia is required. The usual hospital course requires a one to three day hospital stay following surgery. Typically, a lower leg cast is utilized for a period of six to eight weeks to obtain healing. Following cast immobilization, weight bearing is then permitted in a removable walking boot and physical therapy is initiated to help achieve maximum motion at the ankle joint.

For more information, please visit our video library on our Patient Education Page to review the Ankle Replacement module. To determine if you are a candidate for ankle joint replacement surgery, please contact our office for a consultation.