— Not an actual patient/physician

What Are the Risks of Total Ankle Replacement Surgery?

Undergoing any surgical procedure comes with potential risks and complications. If you’re considering a total ankle replacement, here are a few things you should know.
May 21, 2020 | 2 min read
Christa S. Plew, MBA
Editor-in-Chief

Every surgical procedure has a mix of benefits and risks dependent upon your personal circumstances. While there are no guarantees of success, possible benefits include pain relief, restored mobility, and improved quality of life.

Any of the below could occur during or after surgery, and may require medical attention (such as further surgery) and possible implant removal. Consult with your surgeon for risks specific to your procedure and medical devices. If you suspect any of these conditions, speak to your doctor immediately.

  • Infection
  • Severe swelling or pain in the calf
  • Excessive amounts of blood on the dressing
  • Redness
  • Toes, foot, and/or ankle become cold or turns pale
  • Blue or white toes or toenail beds
  • Foul odor from your surgical site
  • Fever above 102 degrees (check your temperature daily)
  • Severe pain that is not relieved with pain medication
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Metal sensitivity or allergic reaction
  • Corrosion of implants, dislocation, loosening, breaking, wearing out, or moving (which may require removal and/or replacement of some or all of the components)
  • Decreased blood pressure, heart attack, or blood clots

When ankle replacement surgery is not appropriate

Given the risks, your doctor may decide that ankle replacement surgery is not appropriate if:

  • You have an infection or a history of infection
  • You don't have enough bone or the bone is not strong enough to support your new ankle
  • You have injured nerves in your ankle area
  • Your ankle is severely unstable
  • Your bones are not fully grown or developed
  • You have noticeable bone loss or a severe decrease in bone mass (osteoporosis)
  • You have rheumatoid arthritis and active/history of skin lesions (because of increased risk of infection)
  • You have Charcot’s disease
  • You have ankle arthrodesis with malleolar exeresis.
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