Ankle Replacement - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

Ankle Replacement Details

When the bone and cartilage in the ankle joint is severely damaged or if the patient is suffering from arthritis, it may be necessary to undergo ankle replacement surgery. This procedure involves the implantation of prosthetic components to replace the damaged portions of the ankle joint. Infection and bone fractures are also possible reasons to have the surgery done.   The end result should be both the alleviation of pain as well as the restoration of motion.  Outcomes of this type of surgery are generally positive, especially in the short-term.

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Before Ankle Replacement

Oftentimes, individuals suffering from arthritis-associated pain in the ankle joints may be directed to treat the condition with less invasive methods. This includes the use of an ankle brace or simply restricting activities that may result in pain. Surgery is usually suggested when the pain is to a debilitating point and can no longer be managed by medication or braces. It is important for the patient to consult with their doctor before and while considering ankle replacement surgery.X-rays may be performed prior to surgery to assess the extent of cartilage and bone damage as well as to provide the physician with adequate information regarding how to proceed with the procedure. The patient is also subject to other assessments involving the heart, lungs, and kidneys in order to determine whether the patient is healthy enough to undergo surgery. The patient will also need to inform the physician of any allergies to medication or otherwise.

How it is performed

The patient will undergo this surgery under either general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia (will not be able to feel anything below the waist but will still be conscious).  An incision is then made in the front of the ankle to expose the joint.  This is followed by the removal of damaged bone and cartilage which is then replaced with an apparatus composed of both high-density plastic and metal.  Specialized adhesives may be used to keep these pieces in place.  Incisions are then sutured and protective dressing is put on the ankle area.  The surgery is relatively quick and as minimally invasive as possible.


It will take the patient a minimum of six weeks to return to normal activities.  This time should be used to rest at home and avoid extraneous activities that may result in a slower or botched recovery.  Most times, immediately following the surgery, the patient may be required to stay in the hospital overnight.  The patient will also be given a cast and, sometimes, an exercise regimen to help with recovery. 

Potential Risks

This surgery is quick and minimally invasive but still comes with the typical risks that accompany surgeries.  This includes: infection, excessive bleeding, clotting, damage to bone, and possible failure of bone and cartilage to heal well with the new prosthetic.  There may also be some after-effects of stiffness. 

Cost for Ankle Replacement

US from $34,000
India from $7,000
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