What is Arthrodesis?
Ankle fusion (also known as arthrodesis – “arthro” = joint; “desis” = 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’t 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.