Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery

Written by Medicine and Health. Posted in Tests, procedures and surgery

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Definition

Arthrodesis fuses (welds) together the two bones that form a joint. There is no longer movement in the joint after the procedure. One or more related joints may be done at the same time.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Reasons for Procedure

Ankle arthrodesis is done to relieve disabling ankle pain or deformity caused by poorly healed fractures, arthritis, infections, or developmental defects.

Satisfactory results, including good pain relief, are achieved in most patients. Most can wear ordinary shoes. Some will benefit from specially fitted footwear.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an arthrodesis, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Failure of the joint to fuse
  • Poor alignment of the joint, causing pain and/or an altered gait
  • Need for repeat surgery
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Infection
  • Some chronic diseases

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Several nonsurgical methods will be tried to correct your problem before choosing surgery. These may include medicines, injections, special shoes, or types of physical therapy. You will have a thorough evaluation to determine your overall health and any risk factors.

Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery unless told otherwise by your doctor.

Arrange for help at home after returning from the hospital.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Anesthesia

Your doctor may choose:

  • General anesthesia — You will be asleep.
  • Spinal anesthesia — Anesthesia will be given directly to the spine; your lower body will be numb.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Description of the Procedure

Arthroscopic surgery uses tiny incisions. Through one of the incisions, the doctor will insert a thin arthroscope with a tiny camera attached to a television. Other thin instruments will be inserted into the joint through the tiny incisions to perform the surgery. There are many ways to secure the two bones together so that they no longer move in relation to one another (eg, screws).

You will have a tourniquet strapped around your thigh to shut off circulation so that the surgery can be performed in a bloodless field. Your leg will suffer no ill effects from the tourniquet.

In some cases, the doctor may need to switch to open surgery. She will make a long incision on your foot and ankle to do the surgery.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Immediately After Procedure

Your lower leg will be in a rigid cast and elevated after surgery. You will be offered pain medicine.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – How Long Will It Take?

About 2-5 hours

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – How Much Will It Hurt?

There will be no pain during the procedure. Afterwards, there will be some discomfort. Talk to your doctor about medicine to help manage discomfort.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Average Hospital Stay

Barring complications, you may be able to go home in 2-4 days.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Postoperative Care

It will take up to four months to heal and solidly fuse the joint(s). During that time, you will be in a cast. After the procedure, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.

Arthrodesis of foot and ankle – arthroscopic surgery – Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Bleeding or discharge from your incision(s) — This may show up as staining on your cast.
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Increasing or severe pain that is not relieved by your pain medicine
  • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness, tingling, or discoloration in the foot

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

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