Total Ankle Replacement in End-Stage Osteoarthritis FAQ’s

What anesthesia is used for ankle replacement surgery?

Ankle replacement surgery is usually carried out with regional anesthesia, which numbs the leg. Patients are given medication to induce sleep during the procedure, but they remain partially conscious and not fully unconscious.

Will hospitalization be required after ankle replacement surgery?

The majority of patients can go home on the same day following the procedure, although a few may need to stay overnight.

What is the typical recovery schedule for ankle replacement surgery?

During the recovery period, it’s important to keep the leg elevated and avoid putting weight on it for the initial four weeks. Physical therapy typically starts after four weeks, along with gradually walking in a supportive boot. Transitioning to regular shoes usually occurs around eight weeks, although complete recovery may take up to a year.

How soon after the surgery can driving be resumed?

Typically, driving can resume after about eight weeks following surgery on the right ankle, and possibly earlier if the left ankle was operated on.

Is assistance required at home during the healing process?

Support or assistance is advised during the initial two weeks following surgery since the foot cannot bear weight during this time.

When can regular activities be resumed?

Following the initial four weeks, patients can start engaging in limited activities, gradually progressing to more demanding tasks over the course of six months to a year.

What are some of the advantages and potential drawbacks of ankle replacement?

The advantages comprise pain alleviation and retained ankle mobility, facilitating more natural walking. Potential risks encompass infection, blood clots, and gradual loosening of the prosthetic components.

What steps should be taken to prepare for ankle replacement surgery?

Preparation may entail undergoing physical therapy, quitting smoking, and discontinuing specific medications as advised by the healthcare provider.

What physical therapy is necessary after the surgery?

Physical therapy plays a vital role in the recovery process, involving exercises such as open-chain isotonic movements, proprioceptive exercises, and gradually progressing to weight-bearing activities.

Are there any lasting restrictions following ankle replacement surgery?

Patients are advised to steer clear of high-impact activities like running or jumping but can participate in walking, hiking, and low-impact sports.

What is the effectiveness rate of ankle replacement surgery?

Total ankle replacement typically leads to substantial pain reduction and retained mobility, with the majority of patients expressing satisfaction with the results of their procedure.

What is the process for performing total ankle replacement surgery?

During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision at the front of the ankle to access the affected area. Damaged bone and cartilage are then removed, and prosthetic components are inserted to mimic the natural joint.

Which conditions commonly result in the necessity for ankle replacement surgery?

Serious arthritis, notable ankle discomfort, and restricted mobility frequently prompt consideration for ankle replacement surgery.

How can I determine if I am eligible for ankle replacement surgery?

A comprehensive assessment conducted by an orthopedic surgeon, which includes reviewing medical history, performing a physical examination, and analyzing imaging results, is essential to ascertain candidacy.

What other treatment options are available for advanced ankle osteoarthritis?

Other options include conservative approaches such as pain medication, braces, injections, as well as surgical interventions like ankle fusion or arthroscopy.

What is the typical lifespan of an ankle replacement prosthesis?

The durability of a prosthesis varies but can extend to 10 years or beyond, influenced by factors such as activity level and weight.

What components are utilized in ankle replacement implants?

Implants are commonly crafted from metal alloys and plastic (polyethylene) to offer robust and smooth surfaces for articulation.

Is it possible to undergo ankle replacement surgery more than once if the initial prosthesis fails?

Revision surgeries are feasible but tend to be more intricate and contingent upon individual circumstances.

What sets ankle replacement surgery apart from ankle fusion?

Ankle replacement maintains joint motion, whereas fusion stops joint movement to alleviate pain.

What are the lasting advantages of selecting ankle replacement surgery compared to other treatments?

Advantages comprise pain alleviation, retained ankle mobility, and enhanced quality of life.

Are there any age limitations for undergoing ankle replacement surgery?

While there are no rigid age restrictions, one’s overall health and level of physical activity are crucial factors to consider.

What specific tests are typically needed before undergoing ankle replacement surgery?

Examinations usually involve blood tests, imaging scans, and occasionally specialized assessments of the heart or lungs.

What adjustments should I make to my home environment to facilitate recovery after ankle replacement surgery?

Changes may involve removing potential tripping hazards, installing grab bars, and ensuring there’s a comfortable recovery area on the ground floor.

Are there specific dietary guidelines to adhere to before and after ankle replacement surgery?

A well-rounded diet rich in protein and essential vitamins is typically advised to promote healing.

What methods can I use to alleviate pain following ankle replacement surgery?

Pain relief methods may involve medications, icing, elevation, and subsequently, physical therapy.

What symptoms should I watch for that may indicate an infection following the surgery?

Symptoms such as redness, excessive swelling, fever, or drainage from the incision site could suggest the presence of an infection.

How often will I need to attend follow-up appointments after ankle replacement surgery?

Follow-up appointments are usually scheduled at regular intervals, such as every six weeks, three months, six months, and annually thereafter.

What types of shoes are recommended following ankle replacement surgery?

It is advisable to wear supportive and comfortable shoes, especially ones that can accommodate swelling.

Are there any limitations on traveling after ankle replacement surgery?

Travel might be restricted initially due to swelling and the necessity for elevating the leg; it’s advisable to seek guidance from your surgeon.

What impact do comorbid conditions such as diabetes have on the outcomes of ankle replacement surgery?

Underlying health conditions can heighten the risk of complications and potentially influence the healing process.

Is it safe to undergo an MRI after having an ankle replacement?

Usually, yes, but it’s important to inform the MRI technician about your implant beforehand.

What symptoms might indicate that an ankle replacement is not functioning properly?

Signs of a failing replacement may include heightened pain, diminished mobility, or instability.

What impact does body weight have on the results of ankle replacement surgery?

Increased body weight can elevate the strain on the implant, potentially resulting in a reduced lifespan for the replacement.

What are the success rates associated with total ankle replacements?

The success rates are typically high in providing pain relief and enhancing function.

Are there any recent developments or advancements in ankle replacement surgery that I should be aware of?

Advancements in prosthetic design, surgical methods, and postoperative care are continually evolving. It’s recommended to consult with a surgeon to explore the most recent options available.

How can I select the most suitable surgeon for my ankle replacement surgery?

Seek out a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with expertise in ankle replacements, and review their history of patient outcomes for reassurance.

How does physical therapy contribute to the recovery process following ankle replacement surgery?

Physical therapy plays a vital role in recovering strength, mobility, and function after surgery.

Is ankle replacement surgery typically performed on an outpatient basis?

Although most cases are performed on an inpatient basis, some patients may qualify for outpatient surgery depending on their overall health and individual circumstances.

What anesthesia options are available for ankle replacement surgery?

Choices usually involve general anesthesia or regional anesthesia combined with sedation.

For how long will I require the use of assistive devices such as crutches or a walker after surgery?

Assistive devices are typically required for the initial four to eight weeks, depending on the patient’s rate of recovery.

What lifestyle adjustments will be necessary following an ankle replacement?

Refrain from engaging in high-impact activities and focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Mo Athar
A seasoned orthopedic surgeon and foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Mohammad Athar welcomes patients at the offices of Complete Orthopedics in Queens / Long Island. Fellowship trained in both hip and knee reconstruction, Dr. Athar has extensive expertise in both total hip replacements and total knee replacements for arthritis of the hip and knee, respectively. As an orthopedic surgeon, he also performs surgery to treat meniscal tears, cartilage injuries, and fractures. He is certified for robotics assisted hip and knee replacements, and well versed in cutting-edge cartilage replacement techniques.
In addition, Dr. Athar is a fellowship-trained foot and ankle specialist, which has allowed him to accrue a vast experience in foot and ankle surgery, including ankle replacement, new cartilage replacement techniques, and minimally invasive foot surgery. In this role, he performs surgery to treat ankle arthritis, foot deformity, bunions, diabetic foot complications, toe deformity, and fractures of the lower extremities. Dr. Athar is adept at non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal conditions in the upper and lower extremities such as braces, medication, orthotics, or injections to treat the above-mentioned conditions.