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Arthrodesis of Foot and Ankle—Open Surgery
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Arthrodesis of Foot and Ankle—Open Surgery Overview

Written by FoundHealth.


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
Arthrodesis of Foot and Ankle
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Several nonsurgical methods 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:

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:

Description of the Procedure

The doctor will make a long incision so that he can see the joint. He will then secure the joint. 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 not suffer ill effects from the tourniquet.

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 2-5 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.

Postoperative Care

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


Ankle arthrodesis. Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association. Orthopaedic website. Available at: . Accessed September 8, 2005.

Daniels TR. Ankle arthrodesis. Canadian Orthopaedic Association website. Available at: . Accessed September 8, 2005.



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