Orthopedics and trauma surgery
Chief Physician

Ankle Joint Replacement Surgery

Professor MD Thomas Gösling

Chief Physician

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Ankle Joint Replacement Surgery

Ankle joint replacement is surgical treatment for arthritis which is newer than common replacement operations for knee and hip but it is growing popular from year to year.

Ankle is a complex joint maintaining many different foot movements and designed to walk even on unstable ground, which makes it quite difficult for implantation with keeping all the natural motion functions.

Who is Candidate for Ankle Replacement?

Although the number of TAA is increasing latest years there are quite many limitations for having this surgery. The right choice of the patients for procedure is critical for its success. It still contradictory who is eligible for ankle prosthesis and who is illegible. Here you can find some essential demands to the potential candidates for TAA:

  • Age is older than 50. Younger people often don’t like the result as they become less active.
  • Those who have arthrosis of non traumatic origin in advanced stage.
  • Patient with degenerative changes of joint.
  • Patents with low physical demands. You hardly can have extreme style of life with ankle implant.

In most cases, replacement is recommended when condition of natural joint as bad to keep normal style of life and artificial joint even with all of its limitation will give significant relieve. Obesity is contraindication for TAA.

Total Ankle Arthoplasty (TAA)

Ankle Joint Replacement Surgery

Total ankle arthoplasty or ankle replacement is recommended when joint degeneration causes persistent pain and decreased moving function while conservative treatment was not effective. Among contraindications are infections, poor blood supply in the leg and absent leg muscle function.

TAA is performed under general anesthesia or spinal nerves blockage. The surgeon makes an incision in a front part of the ankle and moves tendons, vessels and soft tissues away to have an access to the joint. Then your surgeon removes the diseased bone and cartilage.

After that the two implant parts are attached to the tibia (shin bone) and talus (foot bone) and separated with plastic spacer. The surgeon may use cement for fixation or prefer cementless method. Sometime the screw can be used for better ankle stability.

After fixing the implant surgeon close a wound and suture it. The procedure could take about 2-2.5 hours.

After Surgery Rehab

Shortly after surgery you ankle will stay numb and you may need UV to support your body. But already in second day you will be asked to be as active as you can. You will start walking with crutches or walkers but you should keep in mind that you have to refrain from loading of your whole weight on your foot for four-six weeks after TAA.

You can discharge after 3-4 days after operation but you recovery does not finish there. You may still have any pain cutters. When you lay down, you are better to keep your foot upper on the pillows to get rid of swelling. If you have any bad symptoms as fever of inflammation, consult immediately with your doctor. You should avoid of taking shower till your doctor does not allow. You will be recommended to shower in sitting position.

After 2-3 weeks you may start exercising without much load for your foot. In 4-6 weeks you can return to your normal style of life without any physical overstraining. You can put away your crutches and start carefully walking on your ankles. You may be prescribed having physiotherapy. You also may need a special boot to keep you ankle steady.

Step by step you will go on normal moving on your ankle without pain. Your life quality is expected improving. According to stats reports, total ankle arthoplasty have positive prognosis at least for 10 years after surgery and even more.

Complications of TAA

Ankle Joint Replacement Surgery

There are a few common and some specific possible complications of ankle replacement. Among the common ones are:

  • Blood clots
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Breathing problems
  • Allergy

Specific ankle joint replacement side effects are:

  • Joint weakness or/and stiffness
  • Implant loosening
  • Prosthesis displacement
  • Nerve and vessels damage
  • Skin problems

Ankle Surgery Experts Answer Your Questions

Ankle joint replacement is rather new kind of orthopedic surgery. German orthopedists were among the first surgeons started working in this field. Clinic of Braunschweig with its departments, clinics and institutes in Germany provides qualified surgical treatment for ankles disorders. For individual treatment plan and other services please contact us online. Do not delay you visit to orthopedist.

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