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What are some facts about ankle replacement?

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Quick Answer

Ankle replacement, or ankle arthroplasty, refers to a surgical procedure to treat a damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle joint. Artificial joint parts are often used to replace the damaged bones, notes the United States National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus.

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Individuals may require ankle replacement when their ankle joints are damaged due to bone fracture, osteoarthritis, infection, rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis that develops after a previous surgery. The main reasons for conducting this type of surgery include severe pain and loss of mobility with regards to the ankle joint.

Before the procedure, doctors usually tell patients about the risks involved. These may include loosening of the artificial joint after some period of time, ankle instability, blood vessel damage, allergic reaction to the artificial joint, infection, blood clot, bleeding and nerve damage.

Before the procedure, doctors carry out several tests to assess the patient's general health condition and determine the best way to approach the surgery. Doctors may ask patients to stop taking certain medications prior to the procedure.

During the surgery, doctors remove the damaged bone and cartilage. The doctors insert artificial joints that are usually made of metal and plastic. A successful ankle replacement procedure often gets rid of the painful symptoms. It also restores mobility to the ankle, states the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society.

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