Total Ankle Replacement: The Modern Solution for Improved Outcomes

If you’re suffering from severe ankle arthritis or joint damage, you may be considering your treatment options. Until recently, ankle fusion was the most commonly used method to address these issues. However, total ankle replacement (TAR) is now becoming a more popular alternative due to improved outcomes and advances in modern surgical techniques.

Historically, ankle fusion was the preferred treatment method for severe ankle arthritis. The procedure eliminates the joint’s motion and reduces pain. “You can’t have joint pain if you don’t have a joint.” With a fusion the surgeon will remove any remaining cartilage and place screws and metal implants to hold the joint fixed in place until the two bone grow together, “fusing” the joint. However, patients may experience limited mobility and increased stress on adjacent joints, leading to future complications and need for additional fusions in the foot.

Total ankle replacement, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure that replaces the damaged ankle joint with an artificial implant. This procedure can help restore motion, alleviate pain, and improve overall quality of life. Additionally, TAR may result a lower risk of adjacent joint disease and avoids the need for future fusions.

In recent years, advancements in implant design and surgical techniques have led to improved outcomes for TAR. Modern implants are designed to mimic the natural motion of the ankle joint and are made from durable materials, such as titanium or cobalt-chromium. These implants can last for up to 20 years or longer.

While TAR may require some maintenance over time, such as arthroscopic clean-outs or liner exchange, these procedures can significantly extend the implant’s lifespan and improve its longevity.

It’s worth noting that not all patients are candidates for TAR. In some cases, ankle fusion may be a more appropriate treatment option. However, with modern surgical techniques, doctors can now correct advanced deformities and offer TAR to patients who were previously considered ineligible.

Dr. Miller, performs these surgeries regularly and would be happy to discuss whether you are a candidate for TAR. With improved outcomes and long-lasting results, total ankle replacement may be the solution you need to improve your quality of life and regain your mobility. Contact Dr. Miller today to schedule a consultation.