Total Ankle Replacement in Santa Rosa CA
What is Total Ankle Replacement?
Total ankle replacement is a surgical procedure used to relieve pain and restore movement to damaged ankle joints. Damage to the ankle joint is usually caused by injury or age-related degenerative conditions such as arthritis, which tend to get worse if left untreated. These conditions can leave patients with severe pain, stiffness, limited range of motion and an eventual loss of function of the ankle, seriously affecting a patient’s quality of life.
If you believe you may be a candidate for a total ankle replacement, contact our office in Santa Rosa CA today to schedule a consultation.
When to consider Total Ankle Replacement
Total ankle replacement is often considered a last resort for treating ankle conditions. Your doctor may first recommend conservative treatment to relieve the symptoms associated with your condition. If these treatments are unsuccessful, ankle surgery may be beneficial.
The ideal patient for this procedure is someone who is over the age of 50 and not very active. While total ankle replacement can improve symptoms of arthritis and other painful conditions, it can also leave patients with a limited range of motion and limited support in their ankle joint after the procedure. Patients with severely deformed or unstable ankles or those whose job requires heavy labor or running should not undergo this procedure.
“Dr. Howe and his team are fantastic. Great attention to detail. Compassionate, straight forward and genuine. Really recommend he and his team” – Kevin C.
What can go wrong with an ankle replacement?
Complications after ankle replacement are relatively rare. However, patients are made aware of the following risks:
- Infection. According to data, there is a 2% to 4% chance of infection after surgery.
- Nerve injury. Usually, changes in nerve sensation are only temporary after ankle replacement.
- Loosening. The attachment between the prostheses and relevant structures may loosen over time due to excessive stress or wear and tear.
Alternatives to Total Ankle Replacement
Other successful options to joint implant procedures include Arthrodesis, Osteotomy, and Arthroplasty (resection and synovectomy), which relieve pain by removing or repairing damaged joint materials.
How long does ankle arthroplasty last?
Studies place the average longevity of an ankle replacement at about 10 years. This is achieved in 90% of cases. Some may last much longer, and there is a chance of failure well before the 10-year mark. Completing a course of physical therapy after the joint replacement can improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Patients may learn how to utilize the joint well to extend its lifespan.
How painful is the procedure?
Ankle replacement surgery is usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia. The medication delivered into the bloodstream blocks the reception of pain signals so the brain does not register pain during the procedure. The analgesic effects of general anesthesia may last several hours. By the time that discomfort might become noticeable, the patient may have begun taking the pain medication that was prescribed to them before surgery. Patients should pre-fill their prescriptions so there is no delay in starting them on the day of surgery. These medications should adequately reduce post-operative pain, which naturally subsides over the course of about a week. Patients can also apply ice to the surgical area as directed by the doctor.
The Ankle Replacement Procedure
The surgical procedure is performed under general anesthesia to help minimize pain and discomfort during the procedure. Your doctor will make an incision in the ankle and remove the damaged joint surfaces before inserting the artificial replacement to the leg and foot. The incision is then closed and the ankle is usually put in a splint or cast to keep it stable.
Recovery From Ankle Replacement Surgery
This procedure usually requires a short hospital stay and physical therapy to help the ankle heal. Compression stockings may be used as well for some time to help prevent swelling and bruising of the ankle.
How long do you have to wear a boot after ankle replacement surgery?
Patients can expect to wear a boot or splint for approximately six weeks after ankle replacement surgery. For the first two weeks of recovery, it is necessary to limit movement to allow optimal healing of the incision. However, patients are instructed to walk or move their legs periodically throughout the day to avoid blood clot development. After six weeks, the doctor or a physical therapist may discuss removing the boot to perform specific exercises to rehabilitate the joint and surrounding bones and muscles.
It is important to remember that surgical recovery, especially after joint replacement, can look very different from one person to the next. Recovery speed and success can depend on several factors, including the patient’s age, weight, and general health.
What TO EXPECT FROM YOUR RESULTS
While it can take up to a year to regain full use of the ankle after replacement surgery, patients can expect to go back to a relatively active lifestyle once this occurs. Patients can bicycle, hike, swim, and walk normally on the new ankle, but may be advised not to run or engage in high-impact activities.
Can you get a total ankle replacement twice on the same ankle?
Yes. Some people do undergo a second ankle surgery after their first. The parts that make up the replacement joint can wear out over time. The new joint may be preserved by avoiding high-impact activities like running and contact sports. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce undue stress on the joint, also helping it last longer so the chances of needing another surgery remain low.