A total ankle replacement, or ankle arthroplasty, typically occurs because a patient suffers from ankle arthritis, a serious ankle injury, or simply because a person has gotten older, and their ankle cannot support their active lifestyle. Whatever the case, if your doctor has recommended a total ankle replacement, knowing what to expect during and after the surgery can help you make a more informed decision about your healthcare. Here are a few things you can expect during and after ankle replacement surgery.
Preparing for Your Total Ankle Replacement Surgery
Proper preparation before your total ankle replacement is critical to help ensure the procedure is a successful and you are able to heal more quickly at home. Talk to your doctor or surgeon about any medications you need to stop taking prior to the surgery. Additionally, avoid smoking or drinking alcohol in the days and week before the procedure, as these habits can slow your recovery time.
Prepare your home before the surgery to ensure you have everything to remain comfortable. You won't be able to walk up the stairs for several weeks, so prepare a place to sleep downstairs, if your bedroom is upstairs. Purchase several easy-to-prepare meals and secure a pair of crutches or a knee scooter to help you get around at home.
What to Expect During Your Total Ankle Replacement Procedure
The first part of your procedure involves being given an anesthetic and a nerve block, which will numb your ankle. Additionally, the nerve block will continue to provide relief from post-surgical pain for several hours. Next, your surgeon will make a small incision on the affected ankle and take out any damaged bone and other tissue.
The ankle is then prepared before the new prosthetic ankle is put into place. Finally, the surgeon will perform some tests to ensure there is proper range of motion before closing the incision. Depending upon the extent of the procedure, you will either be able to go home a few hours after the surgery or will be expected to stay the night.
Caring For Yourself at Home
You will be on crutches or using a knee scooter for several weeks or months after the procedure to give your ankle time to heal properly. While at home, make sure rest as much as possible and watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or a fever.
A total ankle replacement surgery is a common procedure that can help you find relief from several common conditions, including arthritis. Contact your surgeon with any additional questions.