A new ankle replacement
Friday, June 6, 2014
It’s an exhilarating – yet reassuring moment when I see a patient come out of an extensive surgery without a tremendous amount of pain. Such is the case with the lateral ankle replacement procedure I now offer my patients.
As an orthopaedic surgeon, I am thrilled to offer an effective procedure to patients, where before there was almost nothing that could help them. Ankle replacement has really evolved within the last twenty years. What used to be a rare procedure has recently become more and more realistic for patients. With the new lateral ankle replacement procedure, they are free from pain and are able to keep their mobility at the same time.
In the older, traditional approach, the incision is made on the front of the ankle. This can make the nerves and blood vessels vulnerable for damage which could lead to a prolonged recovery and disrupted walking gait.
The new, lateral placement ankle arthroplasty means the incision is made on the ankle’s side. The new angle allows the surgeon to view the joint better to precisely position the ankle replacement. I can also perform anatomical corrections, like fixing a heel deformity, during the surgery, rather than post-op. This eliminates second surgeries – which I can believe my patients appreciate.
In addition to a lateral approach, I now use a different type of metal. I previously used titanium alloy, a metal that allowed growth up to, but not into the implant.
I now use trabecular metal, which when placed under a microscope looks like bone. This material was discovered in the nosecones of airplanes, initially designed to prevent the shock if there was a crash. The material encourages rapid growth into the implant which decreases recovery time for patients.
Benefits of lateral ankle replacement
- Less additional procedures to straighten a deformity in a patient’s leg
- Diminished risk of damage to the arteries and nerves on the back of the ankle
- The surgeon has a better gauge on how much bone to cut with the side approach
- Less downtime after surgery
Why do I do it?
Although this procedure takes a little longer than the traditional way, I believe it is better for patients. The innovative replacement has been available for about a year. I completed training and a cadaver lab in late 2013 to be cleared to use the new device and technique on my patients.
If you have suffered from arthritis or any other pain in your ankle, I welcome you to see me for a consultation.