Ankle arthrodesis is used to relieve disabling ankle pain or deformity caused by poorly healed fractures,
arthritis, infections, or developmental defects.
Satisfactory results, including good pain relief, are achieved in most patients. Most can wear ordinary shoes. Some will benefit from specially fitted footwear.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have arthrodesis, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Failure of the joint to fuse
Poor alignment of the joint, causing pain and/or an altered gait
Need for repeat surgery
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Some chronic diseases
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Several nonsurgical methods will be tried to correct the problem before choosing surgery. These may include medicines, injections, special shoes, or types of physical therapy. You will have a thorough evaluation to determine your overall health and any risk factors.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
Spinal anesthesia—Anesthesia will be given directly into the spine; your lower body will be numb.
Description of the Procedure
The doctor will make a long incision so that he can see the joint. He will then secure the joint. There are many ways to secure the two bones together so that they no longer move in relation to one another. Long screws, screws and steel plates, long steel rods, and bone grafts have all been used.
You will have a tourniquet strapped around your thigh to shut off circulation so that the surgery can be performed in a bloodless field. Your leg will not suffer ill effects from the tourniquet.
Immediately After Procedure
Your lower leg will be in a rigid cast and be elevated after surgery. You will be offered pain medicine.
How Long Will It Take?
About 2-5 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
There will be no pain during the procedure. Afterwards, there will be some discomfort. Talk to your doctor about medicine to help manage discomfort.
Average Hospital Stay
Barring complications, you may be able to go home in 2-4 days.
It will take up to four months to heal and solidly fuse the joint(s). During that time, you will be in a cast.
After the procedure, be sure to follow your doctor's
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Bleeding or discharge from your incision(s). This may show up as staining of your cast.
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Increasing or severe pain that is not relieved by your pain medicine
Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea and vomiting
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a