Recent Improvements to Ankle Replacement Surgery Result in Higher Success Rates and Faster Recovery

Recent advancements in Ankle Replacement surgery has increased the success rates and significantly improved the surgical procedure. While earlier generation ankle replacement systems were effective, newer advances have dramatically improved the procedure.

What’s New in the World of Ankle Replacement?

Wright Prophecy Ankle Replacement

The PROPHECY guides allows for improved accuracy of the surgery and faster recovery.

A major advance in ankle replacement has been the use of pre-operative CT scans with the Wright Medical PROPHECY Guide. Through computer imaging and the patient’s CT scan, a patient-specific surgery plan is developed. These scans are performed from the knee down, and are used to measure angles in all dimensions.

As surgeons, we know now the exact degree and level of correction to get the ankle back into an ideal working position. With progressive arthritis, there is often pretty significant angular deformity that needs to be corrected during an ankle replacement surgery. Ideal ankle implant sizing is also pre-determined, improving the accuracy of the procedure.

Once the computer imaging and CT scans are analyzed, and the preoperative plan is developed, the operating surgeon then reviews the information for approval.

Then, a rapid prototype machine produces patient-specific guide pieces out of high-resolution nylon.
These guides are used in surgery as shown in this image.

These advances have significantly improved the accuracy of ankle replacement surgery and have reduced the length of the operation. These advantages have the following benefits:

  • Reduced complication rate due to surgeon error
  • Significant reduction in operating time
  • Less time under anesthesia
  • Faster recovery due to less swelling and pain after surgery because of the smaller incisions and shorter operating time
  • Being able to identify bone cysts and loose bone fragments that can’t be seen on standard x-rays. Bone cysts can be filled with bone graft at the time of surgery to reduce the chance of a loosening implant.
  • Knowing the exact angle of correction helps guide the surgery regarding ligament balancing during the procedure.
Infinity Ankle Replacement, University Foot and Ankle Institute

The INFINITY system allows for excellent correction of deformity while removing a minimum of bone

Another advance that has had a positive effect on good outcomes is the development of more stream-lined, low-profile implants. Wright Medical’s new INFINITY Total Ankle System is designed to allow for excellent correction of deformity while removing a minimum of bone. This allows for the implant to sit against harder, stronger bone and reduces the chance for loosening or compression of the bone.

The INFINITY system is also interchangeable with the traditional INBONE system, which is great for revision surgery if the need arises in the future. Overall, it is a really nice modular, interchangeable system that affords the surgeon multiple options to deal with difficult ankles.

The surgeons at the University Foot and Ankle Institute have been trained in and have years of experience performing successful Total Ankle Replacement surgeries. It’s critically important to remember that not all patients are good candidates for ankle replacement surgery; there are age, weight, and health recommendations for successful outcomes.

If you have chronic ankle pain and have been diagnosed with ankle arthritis, surgeons at the University Foot and Ankle Institute are well prepared to assist in your treatment. We encourage you to call us at (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

Dr. Justin Franson, DPM

Dr. Justin Franson, DPM

After studying accounting and then leaning toward a physical therapy at Brigham Young University, Dr. Franson decided to pursue podiatry as his career. He then attended the School College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago.

Upon graduation in 2001, Franson accepted a three-year residency program at the Greater Los Angeles VA and UCLA County Hospital.

Dr. Franson specializes in several areas including total ankle replacement and sports medicine.
Dr. Justin Franson, DPM

5 comments

  1. HI, my name is Michael i lost my talus completely in a motorcycle accident and I’m desperately seeking help on a procedure that can help me please respond! Feeling helpless in Connecticut!

    • Michael,

      There is a way to make a metal talus that is 3D printed. We would need to see you in person to see if you are a candidate for this. I know you are on the other side of the country which makes it tough, but if you want to see what we can do about this, respond here and we can discuss options of either a virtual consultation and a review of your medical records on an in-person visit.

      Dr. Bob Baravarian
      Assistant Clinical Professor:
      UCLA School of Medicine
      Director and Fellowship Director:
      University Foot and Ankle Institute
      http://www.footankleinstitute.com
      T: 310-828-0011
      F: 310-828-2001

  2. Hey Justin,

    It is interesting to see how technology develops and new techniques become possible. It is very positive that we now are able to have shorter anesthesia duration and faster recoveries.

    Ankle replacement surgery is a big procedure but can help some people to get back in to the game of live after a long period of problems.

  3. Had a total ankle replacement in 2013. Have pain in that ankle constantly. Are the new advancements that much better?

    • Tom,

      It is impossible to answer your question in regards to your case without seeing you. But yes, as a general statement, the advancements in the last six years have certainly made ankle replacements better. I hope this helps.

      Dr. Bob Baravarian
      Assistant Clinical Professor:
      UCLA School of Medicine
      Director and Fellowship Director:
      University Foot and Ankle Institute

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