Question:I've heard there's an ankle replacement joint now. What's the latest about this?
Ankle replacement hasn't been easy. The ankle joint is made up of many bones that offer a wide variety of ankle motions. Early implants had many problems with bone or implant fracture, infection, and loosening or movement of the implant.
At first there was only one type of ankle implant available. Over time three sizes were developed. Doctors have the option of choosing the right size and fit from many more choices now. Materials have improved and so have the surgical methods.
Researchers and doctors have worked together to reduce bone loss and implant shifting. Plates and screws are used more often to hold the implant in place until fusion occurs. Long-term studies show fewer implant fractures and less arthritis in the rest of the joint.Stephen I. Knecht, MD, et al. The Agility Total Ankle Arthroplasty. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. June 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 6. Pp. 1161-1171.
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