Arthrodesis of Foot and Ankle—Arthroscopic Surgery Overview
Arthrodesis fuses (welds) together 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]
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What to Expect
#Prior to Procedure
Several nonsurgical methods will be tried to correct your 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, such as warfarin (Coumadin)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
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.
Your doctor may choose:
- General anesthesia —You will be asleep.
- Spinal anesthesia —Anesthesia will be given directly to the spine; your lower body will be numb.
#Description of the Procedure
Arthroscopic surgery uses tiny incisions. Through one of the incisions, the doctor will insert a thin arthroscope with a tiny camera attached to a television. Other thin instruments will be inserted into the joint through the tiny incisions to perform the surgery. 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, and bone grafts have all been used.
You will have a tourniquet strapped around your thigh to shut off circulation so that the surgery can be performed in a bloodless field. Your leg will suffer no ill effects from the tourniquet.
In some cases, the doctor may need to switch to open surgery . She will make a long incision on your foot and ankle to do the surgery.
#Immediately After Procedure
Your lower leg will be in a rigid cast and elevated after surgery. You will be offered pain medicine.
#How Long Will It Take?
About 2-5 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
Barring complications, you may be able to go home in 2-4 days.
It will take up to four months to heal and solidly fuse the joint(s). During that time, you will be in a cast. After the procedure, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
University of Washington School of Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
The University of British Columbia Department of Orthopaedics
Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association. Orthopaedic Care.net website. Available at:
. Accessed September 8, 2005.
Daniels TR. Ankle arthrodesis. Canadian Orthopaedic Association website. Available at:
. Accessed September 8, 2005.