Ankle replacement surgery has advanced dramatically in the last several years. The original replacements required fusing the two bones in the lower leg (tibia and fibula) together, and they had very high complication rates. The second generation type of implants didn't require those bones to be fused together, but they were aligned completely under intra-operative xray (flouroscopy), so they were not completely precise and still subject to some surgeon error.
The current generation of ankle replacements now are able to be more customized and put in more precisely, because they are CT guided and based on custom molds of your ankle joint that are created pre-operatively.
Ankle replacements can still fail and require revision surgery, but the complication rates are now much lower and becoming much similar to complications rates with an ankle fusion. Ankle fusion was historically considered the gold standard to treat ankle arthritis, but with the improvements in ankle replacements, they are quickly becoming much more common than ankle fusions. Ankle fusions leave the ankle stiff and make walking challenging and also place more stress on the knee and the subtalar joint.
Ankle replacements allow patients to maintain range of motion of the ankle and have a more normal gait. They are used for ankle arthritis and most commonly this occurs after trauma (post-traumatic) or from system diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are considering ankle replacement surgery, come talk with our expert Colorado Springs foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Hinderland and Dr. Cameron. They are expertly trained to give you all the information necessary for you to make the best decision on how to treat you ankle arthritis and keep you healthy and active. Call us at 719-488-4664, so we can help you today!