Total Ankle Replacement?
What to Expect
Total ankle replacement is major surgery. You may have a cast, boot, or splint on your leg for about a month after surgery. You won’t be able to put weight on your leg at first. You will use crutches while the cast or boot is on. Your doctor will tell you when you can start putting weight on the leg.
Get extra help at home. It will be helpful if there is someone to help you for the next few weeks until you can move around better.
You will go home with a bandage and stitches or staples. You may still have mild pain and swelling for several months after surgery.
You can expect to participate in rehabilitation after surgery which will help you regain your strength and movement.
Q: How is Total Ankle Replacement surgery performed?
- In the operating room, ECG electrodes will be placed on your chest and side to monitor your heart rhythm during surgery.
- The anesthetist will then inject medication through your IV line to put you to sleep (general "anesthesia") or block feeling from the waist down (spinal anesthesia).
- Your surgeon will use a tourniquet to control bleeding in the wound.
- Your surgeon will make a surgical cut in the front of your ankle to expose the ankle joint. Your surgeon will then gently push the tendons, nerves, and blood vessels to the side.
- Your surgeon will remove the damaged bone and reshape the bones that remain in place (tibia and talus).
- The parts of the new artificial joint are then attached to the cut bony surfaces.
- After putting the tendons back into place, the surgeon closes the wound with sutures (stitches).
Q: What are some symptoms that would prompt a call to your surgeon after your operation?
- Redness, swelling, or drainage from around the incision.
- An unexplained fever (temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Centigrade) or chills that last more than a day.
- Severe ankle pain that is not relieved by your pain medicine.
WARNING: Always follow your surgeon’s directions for activity limitations. Failure to do so may result in damage to your joint and may lead to device failure. Device failure may require additional surgery to remove the device (revision surgery).
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Individual results and activity levels after surgery vary and depend on many factors including age, weight and prior activity level. There are risks and recovery times associated with surgery and there are certain individuals who should not undergo surgery. Only a physician can tell you if this product and associated procedure are right for you and your unique circumstances. Please consult with a physician for complete information regarding benefits, risks, anticipated implant duration and possible outcomes.