Arthritis in the anklebones results in pain, swelling and inflammation. For individuals with severe symptoms, ankle fusion surgery can be the right treatment.
Ankle fusion surgery, aka ankle arthrodesis, is a surgery performed to fuse two or more bones of the ankle (mostly tibia and talus) and make it as one complete bone. This surgery is performed to treat conditions like arthritis in the ankle, flat foot, club foot or a high-arched foot, which may cause bone-on-bone ankle pain.
Arthritis can affect the two joints of the foot, namely, tibiotalar joint and subtalar joint. The tibiotalar joint is the joint between the tibia (shinbone) and the top of the talus (bone of the foot) bone. The subtalar joint is the joint between the talus and the calcaneus (foot bone). Arthritis leads to damage of the ankle joint, which results in pain, swelling and inflammation.
It is considered the best treatment option for very active or young people who have ankle damage. A person who has severe arthritis in the ankle and is fit for the procedure can undergo ankle fusion surgery. In such patients, it aids in improving function and relieving pain. Arthritis in the ankle can be caused by any of the following cause:
- Wear and tear for a long time (osteoarthritis)
- Autoimmune diseases that affect the joints (rheumatoid arthritis)
- Previous injury of the joint
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
During your first visit, a complete examination will be done. Some imaging tests like CT scan (computed tomography), X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound may be performed to evaluate the condition.
If you smoke, your doctor may instruct you to avoid smoking a few days before the scheduled surgery. You may be instructed to stop consuming certain medications like aspirin or any blood-thinning agents before the surgery.
You should stop eating or drinking anything after midnight on the night before the surgery.
The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia or spinal anaesthesia. Once the anaesthesia is effective, an incision of about 3-4 cm is made through the skin and muscle on the ankle and on foot. Then the remaining cartilage that is affecting the joint will be removed. The surgeon will then connect the bones and fix them with the help of the hardware (screws). If required, other repairs may also be done. After completing the procedure, the incision will be closed by stitches and staples.
After finishing the procedure, you will be moved to the care unit. Your leg will be kept in a brace in an elevated position to prevent its movement. An X-ray may also be taken to look at how successful was the surgery. You may experience pain after the surgery; you will be prescribed some medication for the same.
The following measures may aid in speedy recovery after the ankle fusion surgery:
- Keep your leg in an elevated position
- Wear a splint for a few weeks
- If recommended use crutches
- Avoid putting full body weight on your leg for a few months
- Go for all the follow-up appointments as scheduled
- Go for physical therapy to regain the strength of ankle and leg
- Follow all instructions given by the healthcare provider
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of ankle fusion surgery may differ based on the following factors:
- Condition of the patient
- Type of the hospital
- Surgeons cost
- Post-operative care
- Hospital stay (if required)
- Preferred room