What is Arthrodesis?¬†
Ankle fusion (also known as arthrodesis ‚Äď ‚Äúarthro‚ÄĚ = joint; ‚Äúdesis‚ÄĚ = fusion) is a corrective medical procedure for complications such as arthritis, weak bones, or thinning cartilage in the ankle are.¬† As the name suggests, it is literally the joining of two connecting bones of a painful, worn-out joint.¬† Although arthrodesis can be used on large joints, it is best for minor ones that don‚Äôt require too much bending or flexibility.¬† Many healthcare providers recommend the procedure as an alternative to joint replacement for severely arthritic.¬† Arthrodesis can also be used for knuckles, wrists, and toes.
Preparing for Arthrodesis Surgery¬†
Your healthcare provider will advise you on issues such as smoking cessation, weight control, diet, and exercise prior to the operation.¬† Though not life-threatening, ankle fusion is a painful operation that requires proper care and maintenance, before during and after the procedure.¬† The doctor or surgeon makes an incision in the problem area and uses a bone graft to fuse problem joins together.¬† These grafts can be cultured from other parts of the body (autograft) or from a donor.¬† After the fusion, stitches are used to close the wound.¬† If non-organic stitches are used, they must be removed 10-15 days after the operation.¬† ¬†
After Ankle Fusion Surgery
Post operative healthcare is a must, so be sure to talk to your health care provider about daily care, lifestyle changes, and physical therapy.¬† Post operative patients usually must use crutches to move around for about 1-3 months.¬† Full recovery, however, can take up to one year.¬† One cannot drive or perform manual tasks for a considerable time after the operation.