*

Definition  

Arthrodesis fuses the two bones that form a joint. There is no longer movement in the joint after the procedure. One or more related joints may be done at the same time.

Arthrodesis of Foot and Ankle  
exh39547b_97870_1_cropped_leg

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

*

Reasons for Procedure  

Ankle and foot arthrodesis is done to relieve disabling ankle or foot pain, or deformity caused by poorly healed fractures, arthritis, damaged cartilage, infections, or developmental defects.

The procedure results in pain relief in most patients.

*

Possible Complications  

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an arthrodesis, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Failure of the joint to fuse
  • Poor alignment of the joint, causing pain and/or change in walking pattern
  • Need for repeat surgery
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
  • The use of certain medications
*

What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

Several nonsurgical treatments will be tried to correct the problem before choosing surgery. These may include medicines, injections, special shoes, or types of physical therapy. You will have a thorough evaluation to determine your overall health and any risk factors.

Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners
  • Antiplatelet drugs

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, unless told otherwise by your doctor.

Arrange for help at home after returning from the hospital.

Anesthesia  

Your doctor may choose:

Description of the Procedure  

The doctor will make a long incision to view the joint. The joint will be secured. There are many ways to secure the two bones together so that they no longer move in relation to one another. Long screws, screws and steel plates, long steel rods, or bone grafts have all been used.

You will have a tight bandage strapped around your thigh to shut off circulation during surgery. This will not harm your leg.

Immediately After Procedure  

Your lower leg will be in a rigid cast and be elevated after surgery. You will be offered pain medicine.

How Long Will It Take?  

About 2-3 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?  

There will be no pain during the procedure. Afterwards, there will be some discomfort. Talk to your doctor about medicine to help manage discomfort.

Average Hospital Stay  

You may be able to