Arthrodesis, also known as ankle fusion, is a procedure that may be considered in the case of severe ankle arthritis. There are 50,000 new cases of ankle arthritis in the U.S. every year, and about 100,000 patients undergo ankle arthrodesis annually (often for pes planus, ankle arthritis or a combination of the two).1
When non-surgical treatments have failed, ankle arthrodesis may be performed to fuse the bones of the lower leg – tibia, fibula and talus – into one bone, to prevent them from rubbing and provoking inflammation and pain, and to maintain or improve function by eliminating motion in the arthritic ankle.
Approximately six weeks after fusion, the ankle should typically be well on its way to uniting, and be fully united by 12 to 14 weeks. The bone will get stronger over time. Ankle arthrodesis may be a combined procedure of using either internal and/or external fixation, depending on the severity of the ankle’s condition.
The Orthofix Ankle Hindfoot Nailing System (AHN) is designed to be used for the fusing and fixation of bones in the ankle.
TL-HEX is a dynamic, 3D external fixation system that combines hardware and software to correct bone deformities. This hexapod-based system functions as a 3D bone segment-repositioning module. In essence, the system consists of circular and semi-circular external supports secured to the bones by wires and half-pins, interconnected by six struts.
The Ilizarov System has experienced many modifications over the last fifty years. The TrueLok™ Ring Fixation System, developed at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) in Dallas, Texas, is one of the modern variants of the original fixator, but preserves many of the original principles of Professor Ilizarov. It consists of aluminum rings available in different sizes, connected to the bone through metal wires or/and bone screws. The relative movements of the rings allow the correction of almost all the bone deformities in upper and lower limbs and in the foot.
In beaming, a large diameter cannulated device distributes the axial load of the bone between fixation points, which helps hold a joint or osteotomy until it heals.