According to a news release from the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), ankle replacement is a procedure on the rise for people suffering from severe ankle pain. Jonathan Deland, MD, says improvements in implant design have prompted more patients and orthopedic surgeons to consider ankle replacement to relieve pain and restore function. The newest implant used in ankle replacement, designed by Deland with other doctors, is considered by many to be an advance over previous models, as indicated on the HSS news release.

Deland states, “In ankle replacement, we replace the damaged surfaces of the ankle joint with an artificial implant. One of main the advantages of ankle replacement is that it provides patients with better movement and mobility compared to ankle fusion, in which bones in the ankle are fused together using metal screws.” In regards to the newest implant, Deland says, “It is designed to better reproduce the ankle’s natural motion. It is also designed to be longer lasting. It has the proper curvatures like a normal ankle.”

Deland says parts of the prosthesis work together to restore the natural movement of the ankle joint. The HSS news release notes that the surgical technique used with the new prosthesis entails an incision on the side of the ankle, as opposed to one in the front used for traditional implants. Deland says, “The side incision will generally cause less disruption to the soft tissues surrounding the ankle joint and allows for the replication of curved bone surfaces like those in a normal ankle.”

According to Deland, candidates for ankle replacement are people with severe pain for whom conservative treatments, such as bracing, fail to provide. Eligible patients are at least 50 years old and must have good bone quality and foot alignment.

Source: Hospital for Special Surgery