Ankle fusion is an umbrella term for many techniques – but with a common intention. It seeks to take the different ankle bones and fuse them into one bone. It is a preferred procedure for those suffering from chronic arthritis. Cases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis need ankle fusion as the last resort if the pain and inflammation hinder regular activities.
Ankle fusion surgery is also known as ankle arthrodesis. From its first documented usage in the medical world in 1879, the surgical procedure has helped many patients to alleviate the pain around the ankle area and lead a normal life. For almost 100 years there was little literature available on the surgery. But from 1990 onwards, there have been many well-documented cases around ankle arthrodesis. Through this, we come to know that between 1990 and 2006, the rate of foot and ankle arthrodesis increased by 146%.
Economic development and universal health coverage have led to a massive acceleration in healthcare outcomes in South Korea. It is increasingly emerging as a destination of choice for complicated surgical procedures like ankle fusion. The growth of speciality hospital like orthopaedic hospitals provides much better chances of successful treatment for ankle arthritis patients.
Both minimally invasive and surgical procedures are carried out by well qualified and experienced experts. The orthopaedic surgeons have a very focused speciality. In the key orthopaedic medical centres, these surgeons perform almost 500 surgeries every year on the same types of joints, bones or muscles. This improves their efficacy manifold and makes the South Korean ortho specialists the preferred expert to treat cases of extreme ankle arthritis necessitating ankle arthrodesis.
You can rely on their innovative skills, use of advanced healthcare technology, and clear diagnosis to trust South Korea as a medical tourism destination of choice for ankle fusion surgery at low costs.
In the US it costs on average $14600 to $40000 for ankle fusion procedures in Boston. But in South Korea, you get the same eagle eye precision and experienced surgical skills for far less. The favourable currency rate to South Korean Won to works in favour of patients flying in from countries like the US, UK, and Europe, and South Africa.
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.
South Korea’s state of the art facilities and medical excellence ensures that it remains a favourite for patients coming in from Western countries. Its Ministry of Health and Welfare ensures that the entire process – from pre-surgery consultation to post-operative follow-ups are done in a hassle-free manner for foreign nationals
The entire cost of flight, transfers, accommodation, food, hospital stay, surgery costs, and medical costs is far less than the US costs. In the US the average costs for the procedure alone come to $19184. In South Korea, the same procedure can be done at a fraction of the cost, without compromising on the quality of healthcare or facilities.
Professor Myung Chul Lee from Seoul National University Hospital specializes in new age technology in orthopaedics. Doctor Kook Hee Kyun from Sarang Hospital too is a renowned name in orthopaedics.
Yonsei University Health Systems (YUHS) + Gangnam Severance Hospital has a reputation since its inception in 1885. It specializes in orthopaedics, along with several other departments. The 2715-bed ASAN Medical Center in Seoul
The presence of highly qualified physicians and surgeons in South Korea means that the level of healthcare delivered to patients matches international standards. Their intense focus on advanced orthopaedics makes them the top most professionals in the field of foot and ankle surgeries. With it, their success rate in South Korea remains high and is well above the worldwide average.
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