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Ankle Replacement Surgery


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Ankle replacement surgery — also called ankle arthroplasty — replaces damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle joint with a prosthetic (artificial) implant. There are many types of prosthetic ankle joint devices made of metal and plastic, chosen for your individual needs.

Ankle arthroplasty is a successful treatment for ankle join pain (arthritis), including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. For some, the operation is an alternative to fusion surgery for an ankle fracture or dislocation.

In addition to pain relief, the benefits of ankle replacement surgery include:

  • Restored function and range of motion
  • Improved mobility and activity
  • Protection against future ankle arthritis

If debilitating pain and limited motion affect your active lifestyle, find out if ankle replacement surgery is right for you by visiting the specialists at University of Miami Health System. We offer appointments as soon as possible — often the same day or within 24 hours.

Who Is a Candidate?

Ankle replacement surgery is an option when non-surgical treatments — such as medicines, bracing, physical therapy, and rehabilitation — don’t work to relieve ankle pain or improve function. It can also help people who’ve had a previous ankle surgery that limited mobility.

Generally, candidates for ankle replacement surgery are active, healthy, and do not have these health problems:

  • Loss of sensation (neuropathy)
  • Obesity
  • Poor circulation
  • Significant bone deformity due to birth defect or trauma

What to Expect?

An orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle conditions performs ankle replacement surgery. The operation lasts about two hours and requires general anesthesia and/or a regional nerve block (injection that blocks pain signals to the brain).

During the procedure, your surgeon makes an incision in front of the ankle joint. Using a tiny scope with a camera (called an arthroscope), the surgeon enters the ankle to remove the damaged joint and implant the artificial one. After testing the new joint for proper placement, the surgical site is closed and a splint is placed on your foot to keep it stable.

Recovery time for ankle replacement surgery varies depending on the procedure and your condition. After a couple of days in the hospital, most people stay off their feet for two weeks and require two to four weeks of outpatient (clinic) rehabilitation and physical therapy following surgery.

Why Choose UHealth?

Orthopaedic trauma care you can count on. The trauma team manages orthopaedic trauma services at the UHealth Tower, Jackson Memorial Hospital, and Jackson South Community Hospital. Our team is made up of six surgeons who each have a subspecialty focus in orthopedic trauma. We treat everything from simple fractures that need a brace or cast to complex injuries that are best handled at a Level 1 or Level 2 trauma center.

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