Posted by dave on June 18th, 2012
It is estimated that, in 2010, about 4,400 surgeries will be performed to replace arthritic or injured ankles with artificial joints. The two most common types of surgery involving the ankle are ankle fusion, also known as ankle arthrodesis, and ankle replacement. Either surgery may be performed after all other options have been exhausted. Individuals who often have ankle surgery are those would have arthritis or a worn-out and painful ankle caused by serious injury or fracture.
In an ankle fusion surgery, cartilage is removed from both sides of the joint so that bone will fuse onto bone. The ankle is kept in place during healing using a metal frame placed outside the body. It usually takes about 12-15 weeks for the bones to fuse. In ankle replacement surgery, the ankle joint surface is replaced with an artificial implant. A bone graft is often used to encourage the bones to fuse.
Today, many doctors practice a procedure called arthroscopy to help diagnose joint problems, repair joints during surgery, and monitor healing after surgery. In an arthroscopy, the surgeon is able to view joints and the surrounding soft tissues by inserting a small viewing instrument into the area near the affected joint. Arthroscopy is a very common procedure when examining or operating on the knees, shoulders, and ankles.