Ankle replacement is one of the methods of surgical treatment of ankle arthrosis or its damage. Decades ago this intervention was unpopular due to the difficulty of restoring the biomechanics of the joint, the imperfection of total ankle replacement, and some other factors. The technology of performing surgery has been improved significantly, making ankle replacement a routine procedure.
Indications for total ankle replacement
The main indication for ankle replacement surgery is deforming arthritis of the ankle joint, which occurs after fractures, against the background of certain diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome) or degenerative changes.
Arthritis is characterized by destruction of articular cartilage, bone growths, and deformation of the joint gap. The patient experiences pain at rest that increases with walking. Swelling of the ankle joint area occurs constantly. As a result, the support ability of the limb decreases.
Arthritis is characterized by irreversible changes, so conservative treatment methods have a short-term effect and are suitable only at the early stages of the disease. At the advanced stages, they become ineffective and may even accelerate the destruction of the joint.
What happens if a patient refuses surgery?
Patients who require ankle replacement suffer from pain and functional impairment of the limb. Sometimes patients refuse surgery in the presence of objective indications, as they do not want to have general anesthesia or have other reasons.
The patient can lose time by postponing the decision to replace a still partially functional joint with an implant. Further bone deformation and destruction will complicate the intervention and make rehabilitation after it more prolonged.
How is ankle replacement surgery carried out?
Operations on the ankle joint are successfully performed using the latest endoprostheses of leading medical companies. Preoperative examination and surgical treatment can be performed on the same day. The procedure reliably eliminates pain, and restores the ankle joint’s shape and range of motion.
The operation is performed through a small incision. After processing the articular surfaces, a surgeon implantes the components of the ankle joint endoprosthesis. Ankle joint replacement is performed without significant blood loss, and the postoperative pain syndrome is not severe. No prolonged hospitalization is required; the patient can walk from the next day after surgical treatment.
Visit Booking health website to learn more about the treatment of ankle arthritis.
What is a prosthesis made of?
The implants of the new generation are three-component prostheses with a reliable fixation, consisting of durable materials. All three components are not connected, they are held in place by attachment to the bones and the ligamentous apparatus. It is often implanted by a cementless method, i.e. without artificial fixation. Over time, the bone begins to grow into the micro-holes of the implant, thus forming a single structure with it. There are implants of different sizes to fit the anatomical peculiarities of each patient . The 3D printing technology allows making perfectly fitting prostheses individually.
The components of the ankle joint endoprostheses are made of materials that do not cause allergy, so you should not be afraid of rejection in the postoperative period.
How to undergo a total ankle replacement during a lockdown?
When choosing a clinic for total ankle replacement, many patients choose hospitals at foreign countries. People choose to go here because the medical institutions abroad are well equipped and employ top-class specialists, making it possible to perform operations using innovative technologies.
Booking Health will organize your surgery for ankle replacement abroad. It is obviously better to use the services of a medical tourism company if you’re travelling abroad for treatment during a lockdown: medical advisors will navigate you through all the lockdown restrictions and help you get a medical visa.
Go here if you would like to know more about the programs for treatment and their cost in different countries.
Who is not eligible for total ankle replacement surgery?
Not everyone can benefit from ankle replacement surgery. There are a few medical conditions that restrict people with ankle arthritis from performing this surgery. If you have ankle deformation or are unstable it’s in your best interest not to opt for surgery.
Other medical conditions that restrict people from undergoing this surgery includes bone infection (Osteomyelitis), obesity, circulatory problems and diabetes.
Even with these medical conditions if you still want to undergo ankle replacement then consult your physician who will guide you with the right decision. There are other options available that can be used as an alternative for this ankle surgery based on your physical condition.
Benefits and risks associated with total ankle replacement surgery
An ankle replacement surgery is the best option if you want to put an end to your suffering from ankle arthritis. You can get back your strength, mobility, stability and walk around freely without any pain. It helps you to bring back your natural foot motion and move around in every direction.
You can continue your daily activities like walking, running or playing sports like in old times with no restrictions and live an active lifestyle. You can also opt for ankle arthroscopy but ankle replacement provides you more benefits and ensures long term relief with natural foot motions.
There are a few possible risks associated with this treatment. Although chances of any risk are quite rare you must be mentally prepared for worse situations. The risk factors with this treatment include blood clots, nerve damage, loosening of joints that can be fixed by an additional procedure, infections, healing problems, and damage to blood vessels.
There can be other risks associated that totally depend on the doctor performing the surgery. If the treatment is not done properly it might take longer to heal and you might have to undergo an additional operation. To eliminate the chances of risks try to look for professional doctors with years of experience.
The recovery process after total ankle replacement surgery
The recovery process may differ in patients and the efficiency of surgery. If the treatment is done right and the patient has a faster healing process then you will recover completely within 6 months. In other cases, it can take 12 months or longer.
You must undergo physical therapy and certain exercises that will help you to get back your strength and mobility. For the first few weeks don’t try to move your ankle and then as directed by your physician you can start your therapy which includes Gait training, massages to deal with swelling, strengthening exercises and stretches to bring flexibility and weight-bearing activities.
After a few months of therapy, you will be able to walk and perform other activities naturally like in old times.
There are always possibilities of new and better treatment with the advancement of new technology. Nowadays, with the help of modern medical equipment, you can perform ankle replacement surgery without much complications. After reading this article, hope now you have a brief idea about total ankle replacement surgery. Consult your physician for more information and better advice.