Ankle Replacement

Summary

An Ankle joint replacement is a newer operation than the well-established replacement operations for hip and knee joints. Whereas the hip is a ball and socket joint and the knee is fundamentally a hinge joint, the ability of the ankle and forefoot to flex, extend, invert and evert makes it a more complex joint and all of these actions are necessary to be able to walk over uneven ground.

There are two distinct types of patient who require surgery on their ankle – those who have injured or damaged the joint through sport in their youth and developed osteoarthritis in their middle years as a result, and older people whose cartilage has slowly degenerated as they have aged. This first group is much bigger, but specialists tend to recommend ankle fusion due to their young age. Ankle replacement, on the other hand, tends to be reserved for the older, less mobile group, and is carried out on people with an average age of 64. This type of surgery results in more movement and flexibility in the ankle than fusion but, because of the uncertainty of the long-term outcome, tends to be reserved for those who are less active.

 

  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require.

    If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the best consultant for you to see.

    For more information, call our Reservations team on +44 (0) 1622 237 727 or email reservations@kims.org.uk.

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself.

    If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf.

    If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation. This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests).

    Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further.

    If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital.

    Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

An ankle replacement is a procedure that is carried out under general anaesthetic with a local nerve block for postoperative pain control. During the operation your consultant will remove and replace the surfaces of the ankle joint. This involves resurfacing both sides of the joint with metal components and placing a plastic bearing between them to allow movement. During the surgery an incision is made over the front of the ankle. The arthritic surfaces are removed and if necessary re-shaped to correct any deformity. The artificial joint is then inserted and the wound closed. Following your operation you will remain in hospital for approximately 2 to 3 days.

When you arrive back on the ward from theatre your leg will be in a back slab (half plaster cast) from toe to knee and elevated to reduce swelling. Following your surgery a Physiotherapist will teach you how to walk with crutches without putting the leg to the ground (non-weight bearing).

You will be non-weight bearing for about 2 weeks and will likely continue to need your crutches for the first 6 weeks. If you have an office type of job and you are able to elevate the leg then you may be able to return to work approximately 4 weeks following surgery. However, if your job is physically demanding and usually involves long periods on your feet then it is advisable not to return for up to 3 to 6 months. This decision will depend on where your type of employment falls between these two extremes.

To find out more:

If you would like to come to KIMS please contact our Reservations team on +44 (0)1622 237 727 or email  reservations@kims.org.uk

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