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Ankle Replacement

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Evolution of Ankle Replacement

Ankle replacement is typically performed through a single incision over the front of the ankle. After safely dissecting down to the joint line the bone cut in the tibia is typically planned first. This can be performed either by alignment rods at guides at the time of surgery or by custom 3D printed guides based off of a pre-operative CT scan.

The top of the talus is typically removed next through similar means. After both the tibial and talar joint surfaces have been removed the implants are sized and the bone is prepared for insertion of components. Most ankle replacement components are “press fit” which means they are inserted without any bone cement. These implants are specially designed to have a layer of metal that is porous or very rough so that bone can grow into or on the implant.

The tibial component is usually made of a metal tray with a polymer piece fit to the tray. This acts as the new tibia joint surface. The talar component is usually made of a smooth, highly polished piece of metal which acts as the new tibial joint surface. Patients are allowed to put weight on their joint replacement right after surgery and are usually enrolled in physical therapy to ensure that they maintain ankle motion.

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