What Is Involved in Ankle Fusion Surgery?


Quick Answer

Ankle fusion surgery involves roughening the ends of the damaged bones and fastening them together using metal plates and screws. The bones fuse together into one combined bone throughout the healing process, states Mayo Clinic. This surgery is also called arthrodesis.

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Full Answer

Ankle fusion is usually done when an ankle joint becomes worn out, also called degenerative arthritis. Ankle fusion surgery is usually successful in relieving arthritis pain. It does, however, reduce the ankle's motion, causing nearby bones to move more. This subsequently increases the adjoining bones' risk of developing arthritis. Ankle fusion is more common than ankle replacement. The fusion surgery is more durable and doesn't require as much motion restriction post surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. Fusion is most often recommended for younger people with more active lifestyles.

Ankle fusion is accomplished with an open method or an arthroscopic method. The open method is done through an incision. The surgeon uses a surgical saw to remove articular cartilage from the surface of the ankle joint. The arthroscopic method is performed with an arthroscope, or mini camera, inserted into the ankle through a small incision. Using the arthroscope for viewing, a rotary cutting tool performs the same procedure as the surgical tool. Screws are then placed through small incisions in the skin to hold the bones together as they fuse, states Orthogate.

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