Ankle Fusion Surgery in South Africa

Also known as ankle arthrodesis, the surgery involves fusing of the tibiotalar bones or the ankle bones. More than 2000 to 3000 candidates are known to undergo ankle fusion surgery every year worldwide. The surgical procedure has been widely accepted as one of the most beneficial as well as long-term cure for ankle arthritis, and has therefore been capable of restoring mobility to innumerable people across the world. The extent of surgical procedure required depends on the condition of the candidate. Although modern incisional techniques have been introduced, yet many candidates require an extensive open surgical procedure in complex cases. Thus, the type of procedure required directly affects the ankle fusion surgery cost worldwide.

What is Ankle Fusion Surgery?

The ankle comprises of the shinbone or the tibia and the fibula from the lower part of the leg that fuses with the talus, which in turn rests on the heel bone. Fusion surgeries are mostly done in extreme cases of arthritis that affects and damages the ankle joint. Ankle arthritis may result in wearing out, of two or more bones in the joint, inflammation, redness, and pain leading to partial or complete immobility in the region. In most cases the condition affects the articular cartilage as well. Apart from that, ankle fusion surgeries may also be performed in case of ankle injury. 

 Ideal Candidate for Ankle Fusion Surgery

Conventional treatments are always primarily suggested for pain in case of ankle pain or injury. Besides, physical therapy and other conventional therapies are also implemented before deciding on surgical procedures. Hence, one can be a candidate for ankle fusion surgery, if the individual:

  • Has incurred severe injury causing bone fracture, or tear of articular cartilage.
  • Has chronic ankle arthritis.
  • Is unresponsive towards preliminary treatments.
  • Severe continuous pain causing restricted daily activities or immobility.

Factors Affecting the cost of Ankle Fusion Surgery

Injury in ankle or arthritis may affect people of any age, mostly in case of athletes. However, in cases that require surgery, the ankle arthrodesis cost may vary depending on a number of factors, which are:

  • The age of the candidate 
  • The reason and requirement of the surgical procedure
  • Extent of procedure required
  • Country where the procedure is being performed
  • Healthcare facilities availed by the candidate.
Treatment and Cost

7

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

3 Day in Hospital

4 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 4000

Hospitals

About the Ankle Fusion Surgery

What is Ankle Fusion Surgery

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.

Candidates for Ankle Fusion Surgery

Ankle fusion operation is recommended for patients experiencing unbearable pain during the ankle movement. The pain may result because of the following reasons:

  • Joint wear and tear
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-traumatic arthritis
  • Infection in or around the joint
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Failure of previous non-surgical treatment

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:

  • Insufficient quantity and quality of bone
  • Severe deformity in the leg
  • Vascular diseases that prevent proper healing

How is Ankle Fusion Surgery performed?

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.

Recovery from Ankle Fusion Surgery

Ankle fusion recovery time depends on how seriously you take the following precautions after the surgery:

  • You need to keep the leg raised and give yourself cold compression to avoid swelling.
  • You may sometimes feel tingling sensation early in the morning once you put your leg down. This is because sudden rush of blood towards the ankle when you change the position from an elevated position.
  • You should take pain medicines as directed by your doctor.
  • You should come back to the hospital 10 to 15 days after the surgery to get the stitches removed.
  • You will have to carry the splint for 6 to 12 weeks.
  • Your doctor will put you on a no-weight bearing program for 6 to 12 weeks. This period can be extended if your doctor finds that healing is not fair enough.
  • You will be advised to go ahead with gentle physiotherapy after removal of splints to prevent stiffness in joints.

Alternate treatment options:

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.

Ankle Fusion Recovery Time

  • The minimum time that it takes to recover from fusion recovery is between 12 to 15 weeks.
  • During the first 6 to 8 weeks, you are not supposed to put any weight on the ankle. If you do anything like that, it may disturb the natural healing of the joint.
  • During 8 to 10 weeks of a recovery period, your doctor will advise you to get an X-ray done. If the healing is good, you will be allowed to conduct the light physical activity with the help of cast boots.
  • During 10 to 12 weeks, you can increase the physical activity, but you will be asked to take help of supportive ankle devices.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

Our team of healthcare experts would be happy to assist you

Get In Touch
or call

(+1) 424 283 4838