Ankle fusion is surgery that helps to relieve pain and make your ankle more stable.
The doctor makes one or more cuts in the ankle to reach the ankle joint. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor uses a tool to remove the surface of the ankle joint. This prepares the joint for the next steps. Then the doctor uses screws or other hardware to align and hold the bones until they grow together (fuse). The incisions are closed with stitches or staples.
The surgery can also be done using arthroscopy. That's a way to do surgery inside a joint without making a large incision. Your doctor puts a lighted tube through small incisions in your ankle. The tube is called an arthroscope or scope. Next, the doctor puts some surgical tools in the scope to help make needed repairs. Then he or she stitches the incisions closed. You will have scars, but they usually fade with time.
You will stay in the hospital for about 2 days after surgery.
In about 10 to 14 days, the doctor will take out the stitches.
You will go home wearing a cast or a walking boot. The doctor will tell you when you can start to put weight on your ankle. It most often takes at least 6 to 8 weeks. You may need physiotherapy (rehab). You will need to use crutches or a walker during your recovery.
After surgery and rehab, you will probably have less pain and more strength and movement in your ankle.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
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