Total ankle replacement (TAR) is a surgical procedure to provide pain relief for patients with arthritis of the ankle joint.
Arthritis is wear and tear degeneration and thinning of the joint cartilage that causes pain, stiffness, and, sometimes, deformity. Arthritis may result from osteoarthritis, past trauma, instability, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions.
TAR replaces the joint surfaces with metal and plastic components similar to total hip and knee replacements. This provides pain relief and preserves some motion.
In preparation for a TAR, a preoperative CT scan is performed with a special protocol to define the individual patient’s ankle anatomy and alignment. This allows sterile custom molds to be made that are used during surgery to provide precise position and alignment of the implants. This patient specific precision is believed to allow better function and longevity of the total ankle replacement.
Ankle fusion is another surgical option for pain relief, but stiffens the ankle, putting increased stress on nearby joints. For mild cases, outpatient ankle arthroscopy may provide temporary relief.
Non-surgical treatment for ankle arthritis includes anti-inflammatory medication, ice, braces, physical therapy, cortisone injection, platelet rich plasma injections, or stem cell therapy. TAR is considered when non-surgical treatment no longer helps relieve pain.
An orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon should be seen for management of ankle arthritis, and to determine if ankle replacement is an option.
If you would like more information, or would like to make an appointment with Richard V. Abdo, M.D., please call 727-446-5993 ext 110.