Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

Joint replacement, or arthroplasty, has become more and more of a common option for people with medical problems involving their joints that cannot be resolved with non-surgical treatment. While total replacement of the hip and knee are more well-known, total ankle replacement is now a very viable treatment for people with severe osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis of the ankle. At Seaview Orthopaedics, we’re among the top orthopedic surgery providers in New Jersey and among our specialties is total ankle replacement – contact us, schedule your initial appointment, or read below to learn more.

What is Total Ankle Replacement?

Total ankle replacement is a surgical procedure that involves removing a damaged or unhealthy ankle joint and implanting a prosthetic joint – an artificial structure made of metal, plastic, and other inert materials that moves within itself and as part of the body just as a healthy natural joint would. It is an alternative to arthrodesis – joint fusion – with advantages including reduced pain and better outcomes over time as well as much greater, more natural range of motion. Someone whose mobility is impacted by ankle arthritis may find that they are able to walk easily again after receiving a total ankle replacement.

Why Might Someone Need Ankle Replacement Surgery?

The most common reason for ankle replacement is severe, chronic arthritis that makes the natural joint nonfunctional in the long term. Broken and improperly healed ankle bones may also require a replacement procedure of some kind. Ultimately, the goal of ankle replacement is to reduce pain and restore motion.

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Who is Not a Good Candidate for Total Ankle Replacement?

Contraindications to an ankle replacement include a history of infection in the ankle or Charcot arthropathy of the ankle, a degenerative bone condition. Patients with no motion at the ankle may experience inferior results.

What Age is Appropriate for Ankle Replacement?

The majority of people who get ankle replacement surgery are 45 years old and above, and intend to partake in moderate or less levels of physical activity such as jogging or other sports. However, younger people who nevertheless have conditions that heavily limit their ankle mobility (like severe rheumatoid arthritis) may still potentially be candidates for the surgery. Younger, more active people are, nevertheless, more likely to get an ankle fusion rather than a replacement.

How Painful is Total Ankle Replacement Surgery?

While total ankle replacement surgery is a major procedure that takes place under regional anesthesia, with the patient sedated, it involves a healing process to a much-used area of the body afterwards. People who receive ankle replacement will find mild pain and swelling in the aftermath, as well as needing crutches and a cast or splint for a few weeks to a couple of months.

What are the Risks of Total Ankle Replacement?

Total ankle replacement is a relatively routine surgery performed on thousands of people across North America each year. However, all types of surgical operations carry risks. Ankle replacement can be complicated by bleeding, infection, blood clots, nerve damage, bone misalignment, arthritis in nearby bones, and loosening of the prosthetic mechanism. However, for people who do not have health conditions that contraindicate this surgery, these complications are rare.

What is the Average Recovery Time for Ankle Replacement Surgery?

Healing and regrowth of the body parts around the new prosthetic joint, and the resultant pain, lasts for 6 to 12 weeks, with pain becoming milder and ability to walk on one’s own steadily becoming greater over this time. As mentioned above, people who receive an ankle replacement typically only need crutches for up to two months or so, and can begin to walk unaided afterwards.

How Long Does a Prosthetic Ankle Last?

Artificial ankle joints are made to last for at least 10 years, but newer designs seem to be lasting much longer. A prosthetic ankle can fail or break before this as a result of outside factors. However, if needed, another surgery can be performed down the line.

Who Specializes in Total Ankle Replacement Surgery, and Where are They Located?

One of New Jersey’s premier providers in cases of all orthopedic surgery needs, including total ankle replacement, is Seaview Orthopaedics. We are located in Barnegat, Brick, Freehold, Holmdel, Monroe, and Ocean, and our expert ankle specialists are passionate about helping heal your joint problems and getting you walking again pain-free. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment to consult with us about total ankle replacement.

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