Ankle fusion is a serious surgical procedure that's performed on extreme cases of ankle arthritis. When patients complain of ankle ache because of arthritis, and even after being on non-surgical treatments but cannot see any improvement, then surgery could be an option. For extreme cases, patients who have severe arthritis can opt for ankle fusion surgery and ankle replacement surgery.
Ankle arthritis is not as well-known as their hip and knee counterparts. Ankle arthritis is mainly some sort of strain to the ankle joint, like an ankle fracture. Most patients who suffer from mild or moderate ankle arthritis can be relieved with simple treatments. But for patients who are suffering from a more severe form of ankle arthritis, who have tried simple treatments but to no success, would be required to have ankle surgery.
Ankle fusion surgery can be performed in patients of all ages and is the best option for patients with severe joint arthritis. Ankle fusion is preferred in patients who lead a more active lifestyle since they might wear out the ankle replacement.
Patients who are not eligible for ankle fusion surgery are patients who can manage with simpler treatments. The reason why surgery is not a viable option for patients who can get treated with non-surgical treatment is because of the fact that they will have a permanent stiff joint and will be unable to perform certain tasks such as running. As with most surgeries, it does come with its fair share of risks. Ankle fusion should be done with extreme care on patients who have joint infections, or who are smokers, as these types of patients are more prone to developing complications from these sort of surgery.
Even though the majority of the hospitals who have undertaken ankle replacement or ankle fusion surgery have state of the art equipment to handle such high-risk procedure, it does come with its own set of risks and complications. Discuss all the risks associated with your surgery to your doctor to get some clarification on the matter. Some important, yet unusual complications to keep note of are as follows.
• Blood clots
• Injury to nerves or blood vessels
• Negligible bone healing or bone fracture
• Dislocation of artificial joints
• Breathing Problems or allergic reactions
Ankle fusion operation, also known as ankle arthrodesis, is a surgical procedure conducted to close the joint space by joining the bones that make up the ankle joint.
Your ankle joint is an articulation of three bones. These three bones are known as the tibia, fibula, and the talus. During ankle fusion operation, the cartilage covering the bony surface of the ankle joint is scraped off. The diseased part of the bones is also trimmed.
Next, the newly exposed bony surface of the tibia and the talus are placed in close contact. Additionally, they are compressed using screws. New bone formation takes place in and around the joint resulting infusion of the bones into a single bone.
Ankle fusion operation is recommended for patients experiencing unbearable pain during the ankle movement. The pain may result because of the following reasons:
Not all patients with the aforementioned conditions are always suitable for ankle fusion. Patients with the following characteristics are not suggested to undergo this surgery:
During the surgery, you are given either local anaesthesia or sedation to numb the entire ankle area. The doctor makes a small cut on the lateral side of the ankle through the skin so that the joint can be seen clearly. If more visibility is needed, the doctor makes an extra cut in the front of the ankle.
The doctor then uses a saw to remove the articular cartilage on the surface of the joint bones. The diseased bone is removed, exposing the healthy part of the bone. The healthy bone surfaces are compressed using large screws. The bones join naturally through deposition of bone material as is the case with natural fracture healing.
Sometimes, a doctor may place an artificial bone graft or a bone grafted from your fibula to ensure fast healing of the bony surfaces. Before placing the screws, the doctor carefully positions the ankle to ensure maximum movement possible. The ankle is placed at 90 degrees to the lower leg and the heel is slightly outwards. Then the skin is brought back in place and sutured together.
Ankle fusion recovery time depends on how seriously you take the following precautions after the surgery:
Arthroscopic ankle fusion surgery: This procedure is similar to the open ankle fusion surgery. However, the incision is very small and the entire procedure is carried out by inserting an instrument that has a camera attached to one end. It helps the doctor clearly view the interior cartilage and bones. Faster recovery and healing are the two advantages of this approach.
Ankle joint replacement: During this procedure, the entire ankle joint is replaced. The advantage of this technique over ankle fusion is that it retains complete movement of the ankle.
UAE is the best for state of the art medical technology and most hospitals have accomplished doctors on call for all sort of ankle and foot related surgery. It is also more cost-effective than most countries, hence you would have to face reduced medical costs as well.
The average cost for ankle fusion surgery in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) costs around $3031, but prices can vary depending on which hospital you would want to enrol in. Always get a quote from the hospital before admission to know the actual cost.
Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery – Dr Nader Darwich
Mediclinic Welcare Hospital – Abhay Dandwate
Emirates Hospital- Dr Marwan El Khazen
German Medical Center – Abdel Rahman Ahmed
The top cities in the UAE that offer the best Ankle fusion surgery are:
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