Ankle Replacement Surgery Now
By Michael Wilson, MD
Ankle replacement surgery is now
available at Cayuga Medical Center. In addition, local orthopedic surgeons
perform total joint replacement surgery for knees, hips, and shoulders, as well
as finger and wrist reconstructive surgery.
How common is ankle replacement
Ankle replacement surgery became
more common in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it was a problematic
procedure back then. The prosthetic joints used at that time had a high failure
rate. Outcomes got much better in the late 1990s due to improved anatomical
designs and cementless technology. Now the results
for ankle replacement surgery are very encouraging. Five years after joint
replacement surgery, 90 percent of ankle replacements are working well and ten
years out, survivability of the implants is about 80 percent.
When should someone consider ankle
People with end-stage arthritis of
the ankle should talk with their orthopedist about ankle replacement surgery.
Often these individuals have had previous ankle surgery or hindfoot
fusions. Undergoing joint replacement can preserve motion in the ankle and
provide needed pain relief.
Do age and lifestyle figure into a
decision to have ankle replacement surgery?
Ankle replacement surgery is most
appropriate for people who are more sedentary and is not typically recommended
for athletes or individuals involved in heavy labor. For younger people with
more focal damage to the ankle joint, we would try to reconstruct the
cartilage, or if the damage is severe, fuse the ankle bones. Fusion of the
ankle bones still preserves much of the motion of the hindfoot
(leaving the other joints unfused) and is a very
durable option. In addition, I utilize a technique for ankle fusion that
maintains the option for ankle replacement should a patient need that procedure
at a future date.
In cases where only part of the
ankle joint is worn out, we often recommend cartilage replacement. We remove
the damaged zone of the joint and replace it with matched bone from the patient
or matched pieces from the bone bank. Cartilage replacement, ankle fusion, and
ankle replacement surgery are all state-of-the-art procedures for successfully
treating focal arthritis of the ankle as well as global arthritis of the joint.
These are technologies that have matured in the last ten years.
What do we know about the current
I have been fortunate to conduct
research and publish in the field of foot and ankle surgery for the past twenty
years and have participated in three FDA protocols for ankle replacement. I am
currently participating in a follow-up study on the STAR ankle implant, which
received FDA approval in 2009, and I serve as an approved instructor for STAR
ankle replacement. We are well equipped at Cayuga Medical Center to provide
ankle fusion and replacement surgery and we are eager to bring this new
capability to the patients we serve.
is board certified in orthopedic surgery and is a member of the medical staff
at Cayuga Medical Center. Prior to joining Orthopedic Services of Cayuga
Medical Associates, he was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and
chief of the division of foot and ankle surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
in Boston. Dr. Wilson can be reached at (607) 272-7000.