Fusions of Foot Bones & Ankle
Fusion surgery also known as arthrodesis is a surgical procedure where the bones of the joint are fused using screws making them as one continuous bone. It is often recommended for arthritis. Arthritis is the inflammation of bones in the joint that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and limits the movement of joints. Arthritis is caused by autoimmune disorder, general wear and tear on joints, and infections.
Fusion surgery may be performed by various techniques and they include:
- Arthroscopic ankle fusion – A fibreoptic instrument and surgical instruments are inserted through the tiny incisions and the inflamed tissues and bony outgrowths are removed. Arthroscopic procedure offers several advantages as minimal tissue rupture, minimal blood loss, and quicker recovery. Also the fusion or union rates are higher with this technique.
- Open ankle fusion – A large incision is made at the ankle joint and the corrective surgery will be performed. In conditions where ankle is tilted inwards and the fibula bone is enlarged open ankle fusion would be the better choice as it allows for entire excision and helps in restoring the normal dimensions to the ankle which may not be the case with arthroscopic surgery.
- Ilizarov frame – Ilizarov frame is an external fixature which allows and better results can be obtained with this method. This method will be the choice if infection is present because screws and metallic pins cannot be used in this condition as they may worsen the condition.
In ankle fusion surgeries, your surgeon used pins, plates, screws or rods to hold the bones in appropriate positions so as to help the fusion of bones. Bone grafting technique may be employed in cases of loss of bone tissue where your surgeon may take a piece of bone from one of the lower leg bones or from pelvis joint and replace the missing bone in the ankle joint. Rest, elevation and physical therapy improve the outcomes of the surgery and helps in quicker recovery.