Types of Ankle Surgery: Which One is Right for You?


There are many different types of ankle surgery. The main reason behind this is because these procedures are designed to address various ankle problems and conditions. However, their goals are the same. One of these goals is to provide long lasting relief to the patient from the pain caused by his or her ankle condition. Another is to improve the overall functions of the ankle. Third is to help slow down damage progression. And lastly, to help delay or prevent the patient from having to undergo complete join replacement surgery.

Here are five of the most common surgical procedures done on the ankle/s.

Ankle Fusion

This procedure involves the removal of the damaged joint of the ankle and fusing it with the talus bone to the tibia. The affected foot will be fused to the leg, ensuring that its position is at the right angle. The bones will then be held together by screws. In most cases, the fusion needs 12 to 14 weeks before it can be completed. An advantage of this ankle surgery is that the bone will become stronger.

Arthroscopic Lavage and Debridement

Also known as arthroscopic ankle surgery, this procedure is done through making a keyhole (a small incision). The joint will be cleaned (lavage) while the degenerated or unstable cartilage flaps will be removed. This particular type of surgical procedure helps decrease inflammation, pain, and irritation. It is often conducted on patients who are only suffering from minor defects.

Marrow Stimulation

Marrow stimulation is performed on patients who are suffering from sudden injuries to the ankle rather than wear and tear problems. It involves two steps. The first one is the removal of the damaged cartilage in order to expose the underlying bone. The surgeon will then penetrate the subchondral bone so that he or she can create a clot within the affected area (the defect).

Ostechondral Allografts and Autografts

In an ostechondral allograft, plugs that are inserted into drilled holes within the defect come from a deceased person. Ostenchondral autografts, on the other hand, follow the same procedure, wherein minute plugs of cartilage are taken and inserted into the drilled holes within the defect. It can be done either by creating a small incision or through arthroscopic means. The main difference between the two is that the latter makes use of the patient’s own plugs of cartilage rather than those taken from a deceased individual.

Ankle Replacement

Ankle replacement is one of the most common types of ankle surgery done in patients suffering from damages or severe injuries to this part of their body. During the procedure, which often takes one to two hours, involves the removal of the tibia’s and the talus bones’ worn-out or broken down ends and replacing them with artificial ends that are often made of metal or plastic. One characteristic that distinguishes this surgery from ankle fusion is that replacement will allow you to move the join right after the surgery.

A very important reminder is to consult your primary health care provider first if you are considering undergoing one of the types of ankle surgery. You should not just proceed with the procedure without first consulting your doctor. Doing so will prevent you from choosing the wrong procedure that can just exacerbate the symptoms you are suffering from.