Joint Fusion Procedure

What is Joint Fusion Procedure?

Ankle Joint Fusion Procedure, also known as ankle arthrodesis, is a surgical procedure which aims to relieve pain and maintain or improve ankle function. It is most commonly used for patients with advanced ankle arthritis. During a Joint Fusion Procedure, the ankle bones are fused together. This eliminates movement in the joint and reduces arthritic pain.

Is a Joint Fusion procedure right for me?

Our specialist South Coast Orthopaedic surgeon will usually recommend an ankle reconstruction if all other non-surgical approaches have failed. Specifically, surgery may be required if your ankle has not responded to the following treatments tried for a prolonged period of time:

What happens during a joint fusion procedure?

A number of different methods may be used by our specialist ankle surgeon; however, the main procedure of joint fusion is always the same. The worn ankle cartilage will be removed and the ankle bone surfaces are prepared to be fused together and held in place with metal hardware.

The procedure is done under anaesthetic. It may be done via a traditional “open surgery” method or with a less-invasive arthroscopic (keyhole) approach. A bone graft may be used to support the fusion. This graft may be taken locally or from the heel bone or just below the knee.

Recovery from a joint fusion procedure

Your recovery time will depend on a number of variables, and our surgeon will talk to you about what to expect when you attend your consultation in our rooms.

Typically, your surgeon will recommend not bearing weight on your ankle for at least six to eight weeks. Most patients find this time difficult, and typically rely on crutches, walkers, wheelchairs or knee scooters to move around.

Make sure that you prepare your home prior to surgery. This may involve adding ramps instead of stairs, or moving your bed to the ground level. You might also need aids such as commodes, railings or shower chairs. It’s also a good idea to have someone at home with you to help you with basic tasks like cooking or getting to the shops.

Any non-absorbable stitches are usually removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. After six to eight weeks your ankle will probably be strong enough to use a walking boot. After around 12-16 weeks you will probably be ready to walk without a boot, and begin your transition back to more vigorous activities.