Ankle Fusion

ANKLE FUSION (ARTHRODESIS)

WHAT IS ANKLE FUSION?

An ankle fusion, otherwise known as arthrodesis if it occurs spontaneously, is an operation to "fuse" the bones in the ankle. After an ankle fusion, the ankle is stiffened, and the joint no longer has any motion, but the disabling pain you had before the surgery will be gone once the bones are fused.

Before ankle fusion is considered, one will try oral medicine, stem cell injections, cortisone and anti-inflammatories, all being non-surgical remedies for ankle pain. However, should the pain persist, your orthopaedic surgeon will suggest arthroscopic surgery to dissect inflamed ankle tissue. As a last resort, ankle fusion surgery is helping by taking away the movements of the ankle and the pain. Additionally, joint stability is improved by ankle fusion.The other option for ankle fusion for arthritic pain is an ankle replacement, depending on the age and level of activity of the patient.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Ankle fusion surgery can be done either as open surgery or arthroscopically.

In both cases, the articular surfaces are removed, and the two bones will be stabilised with metal implants. By fusing ankle bones, your orthopaedic surgeon eliminates movement and pain at that level.

WHEN DO YOU NEED ANKLE FUSION?

Ankle fusion surgery is performed for the treatment of severe cases of ankle arthritis. Ankle arthritis presents symptoms of:

  • Swollen ankle (s)
  • Ankle stiffness
  • Ankle instability

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR ANKLE FUSION?

Your orthopaedic surgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination and order x-rays before considering surgery

HOW LONG WILL RECOVERY TAKE?

Recovery will depend on how long your bones take to fuse, as well as your personal condition. Speak to your orthopaedic surgeon about rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any lifestyle changes that might be required.

DR GABRIEL PIRJOL

Dr Gabriel Pirjol is an orthopaedic surgeon based in KwaZulu-Natal at St Augustine's Hospital in Durban. He also operates from Westville Hospital and Capital Haematology Hospital.

CONTACT

Telephone: +27 31 202 5463

Email: gpirjol@gmail.com / opaed001@gmail.com

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal