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Alternative Names Return to topAnkle arthroplasty - total; Total ankle arthroplasty; Endoprosthetic ankle replacement; Ankle surgery
Definition Return to top
Ankle replacement is surgery to replace the damaged parts of the three bones that make up the ankle joint. Artificial joint parts (prosthetics) are used to replace your own bones. They come in different sizes to fit different-size people.
Description Return to top
Ankle replacement surgery may be done while you are under general anesthesia. This means you will be unconscious and unable to feel pain. Or, you may have spinal anesthesia. You will be awake but will not feel anything below your waist. If you have spinal anesthesia, you will also be given medicine to help you relax during the operation.
Your surgeon will make an incision (cut) in the front of your ankle to expose the ankle joint. Then your surgeon will gently push the tendons, nerves, and blood vessels to the side. After this:
After putting the tendons back into place, the surgeon closes the wound with sutures (stitches). You may need to wear a brace for a while to keep the ankle from moving.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
Ankle replacement surgery may be done if the ankle joint is severely damaged. Your symptoms may be pain and loss of movement of the ankle. Some causes of damage are:
Risks Return to top
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for ankle replacement surgery are:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
After the Procedure Return to top
After surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for up to 4 days.
Your ankle will be in a cast or a splint after surgery. A small tube that helps drain blood from the ankle joint will be left in your ankle for 1 or 2 days. To keep swelling down, you can keep your foot raised higher than your heart while you are sleeping or resting.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to learn exercises that will help with ankle motion.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
A successful ankle replacement will get rid of your pain and allow you to move your ankle to up and down. Usually, total ankle replacements last 10 or more years. How long yours lasts will depend on your activity level, overall health, and the amount of damage to your ankle joint before surgery.
References Return to top
Ishikawa SN. Total ankle arthroplasty. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 5.Update Date: 2/3/2009 Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.