The bones in the ankle are constantly moving, which makes that part of the body much more flexible than other joints. Unfortunately, due to aging or repeated overuse, the ankle joint can start to deteriorate and is no longer as flexible as it was.
If you suffer from severe ankle pain, one of the most common medical procedures to fix this is called a total ankle replacement or TAR.
There are two types of TARs: an ankle replacement vs. fusion. But what are the differences? And which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll answer both of those questions.
Anke Replacement Procedure
An ankle replacement procedure is a surgical intervention used to treat severe pain and mobility difficulties in the ankle joint. The procedure involves removing the damaged parts of the ankle joint. It is then replaced with artificial implants made of metal or plastic, which act as a new joint.
The goal of the procedure is to relieve pain and improve function. This allows individuals to resume daily activities with decreased discomfort.
Ankle Fusion Procedure
An ankle fusion procedure is a surgical intervention used to address severe ankle arthritis or deformities that cause chronic pain and limit mobility. This procedure involves fusing the bones of the ankle joint together. This creates one continuous bone instead of two separate ones.
The procedure aims to eliminate the damaged joint and provide stability, thus reducing pain and improving function in the ankle. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the cartilage and bone spurs from the affected joint and then uses pins, screws, or plates to hold the bones in place until they heal.
When to Consider Ankle Replacement or Fusion
The decision to undergo ankle replacement or fusion depends on the severity of the condition, age, and activity level of the patient. Ankle replacement may offer more mobility. However, fusion may be a better option for young and active individuals as it provides more stability.
It is essential to consult with a doctor to determine the best course of treatment for each individual case. If you want to consult now, check out these Boise orthopedic surgeons.
Ankle Replacement vs. Fusion Cost Comparison
Ankle replacement involves using prosthetic joints to restore function. This is a more expensive procedure due to the materials and specialized equipment required.
In contrast, ankle fusion involves permanently fusing the bones in the ankle joint. This has a lower cost as it is a less complex surgery.
Ankle Replacement vs. Fusion Recovery Time
In ankle fusion, the damaged joint is fused together, resulting in a stable but immobile joint. This procedure requires a longer recovery time, often up to several months, as the bones need to heal and fuse fully.
On the other hand, ankle replacement involves replacing the damaged joint with artificial parts, allowing for more natural movement. This procedure typically has a shorter recovery time, around six to eight weeks, as the new joint begins to function immediately after surgery.
Ankle Replacement vs. Fusion: Which One Is Best For You
In conclusion, understanding the differences between ankle replacement vs. fusion is crucial for making an informed decision about treatment options for ankle pain or injury. While both procedures have their own benefits and risks, consulting with a medical professional is crucial in determining the best course of action.
If you are experiencing ankle issues, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice and explore all your options before deciding. Make sure to prioritize your health and well-being, and consult with a specialist for personalized recommendations.