What is navigation-guided total ankle replacement?

Navigation-guided total ankle replacement is a surgery that uses computer imaging and special scans of the inside of your body. These pictures help doctors with sizing and alignment before the actual operation. This makes the surgery less complex. It also reduces how long you need to be in the operating room.

You may need a total ankle replacement when the tissues and bone in your ankle wear down and cause pain. Conservative treatments — like rest, steroid injections or physical therapy — might not relieve your symptoms. A total ankle replacement can help. Navigation-guided total ankle replacement makes sure the prosthetic ankle joint fits properly. After recovery, the goal is to walk and move your ankle without pain.

What to expect from navigation-guided total ankle replacement

In the appointments before your surgery, your doctor takes a scan of your ankle. The doctor uses this to create a computer image of your ankle and develop a surgery plan. A computer program creates guides for the prosthetic ankle. These are made exactly for you based on the images and information the doctor puts into the computer.

Prepare to stay in the hospital for monitoring for a few days after the surgery. You need to be completely asleep under general anesthesia during the procedure.

Your doctor makes an incision in the skin above your ankle. Once they reach the ankle bones, they use the guides to figure out where to cut your bones. The surgeon then puts the artificial ankle in its place. Screws and other hardware hold it in place.

You need to keep your ankle elevated for the first three weeks to reduce pain and swelling. Avoid putting weight on your ankle for at least six weeks. Your doctor may give you crutches or a walker. Physical therapy can help strengthen your muscles and help you regain range of motion in your ankle.

Common conditions requiring navigation-guided total ankle replacement

Arthritis is the most common condition requiring a navigation-guided total ankle replacement. The cartilage in your ankle breaks down and no longer cushions the bones. This makes walking and moving your ankle painful. Arthritis can happen from normal wear and tear or an injury to the joint.

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