Hindfoot and Ankle Joint Fusion
These fusions involve primarily the 6 large bones of the hind foot and ankle. They include; the cuboid, navicular, calcaneus, talus, tibia, and fibula. Fusion of a joint means removal of all joint contents between two bones (cartilage, soft tissue, devitalized bone) and bringing these bones together and allowing them to heal into one bone. There are multiple reasons for doing fusions. Correction of an angular deformity, help support a traumatized or diseased tendon, realignment of the foot, ankle and or leg, removal of arthritic and painful joints and repair or salvage of a fractured bone is to name a few of the reasons why we would fuse a hind foot or ankle joint.
Your hind foot or ankle joint fusion will be performed in a hospital and you likely will spend one to 3 nights there after your surgery. On the day of surgery you will meet with an anesthesiologist who will again review your health history which will help them determine the best type of anesthesia for your particular case. Routinely a nerve block is performed in the preoperative holding area before you enter the operating room. This will ensure your comfort both during and after the surgery.
Once in the operating room and after anesthesia has been induced, your foot will be prepped, draped and positioned to give maximum exposure to that area of your foot which is to have surgery. Through an incision over the bones to be fused, we will begin removing all the diseased portions of joints and bone which has been causing your problem. After adequate removal of this tissue, the bones will be repositioned to correct the deformity and held together with screws, plates, wires and/or external fixation. Depending on the extent of your deformity and surgical correction, bone graft may be utilized to fill in portions of missing bone. The tissues are then repaired with suture and routinely drains are used to wick away any postoperative bleeding. A soft dressing is applied to the incision sites and then protected with either a splint or cast.
Once in the recovery room, your surgical foot will be elevated and ice will be placed around the foot and ankle to help control any postoperative swelling. When you have recovered from anesthesia, you will then be brought to your hospital room. Physical therapy will meet with you the next day and begin teaching you how to use crutches, a walker and/or a wheelchair. After successfully completing physical therapy you will then be discharged to home or to a rehabilitation center to continue with your convalescence.