This surgical procedure is performed to remove portions of the ankle that are diseased or severely injured and to implant a device that will help manage pain and restore mobility to the ankle.
In preparation for the procedure, the patient is positioned and anesthetized. The surgeon creates an incision in the front of the ankle to access the joint.
Removing Damaged Bone
A portion of the tibia is removed. In some cases, part of the the fibula may also be removed to make room for the implant device. The top of the talus is cut away and smoothed.
Inserting The Implant
The bottom portion of the implant is positioned on the talus. The top portion of the device is then inserted into the base of the tibia. For some, bone graft is placed in the lower space between the tibia and fibula to fuse the bones and insure that the device remains securely in place.
End Of Procedure
The incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples, and the ankle is bandaged and placed in a splint. A hospital stay one to three days after the surgery may be required. The splint is removed several days after surgery to allow movement of the ankle for therapy exercises. Full weight is typically not applied to the foot for at least six weeks. An ankle support may be required for up to one year after the surgery.
Once an ankle has been successfully replaced, the patient will likely have to follow up with the surgeon on an occasional basis to monitor the implant. The polyethelene-based mobile bearing can wear out over time and may need to be replaced to ensure the implant continues to function properly for many years.