Encouraging trends in the long term success of total ankle replacement were reported in a study presented at the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society’s (AOFAS) annual summer meeting today.
This study, conducted by Charles Saltzman MD, a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Engineering from the University of Iowa, found total ankle replacement to be an option for patients with severe arthritis. Similar to hip and knee replacement surgeries, total ankle replacement involves removing the arthritic ankle joint and replacing it with an implant. Total ankle replacement was developed in the 1970’s but initially was plagued with high long term failure rates. The older prosthetics implants loosened or malfunctioned and frequently needed to be removed. Newer implants were developed in the late 1990’s that have made the surgery a more viable option.
In the study, Dr. Saltzman reported long term results with the use of the new Agility Total Ankle ( Depuy, Inc) implant developed by Dr. Frank Alvine. The Agility ankle consists of a bearing joint made of a highly mobile and refined polyethylene plastic and mimics the motion of a real ankle. The polyethylene meets with a polished metal surface acting as a hinge giving the patient a range of motion of 20 degrees. Dr. Alvine’s invention is currently the only FDA approved total ankle implant in use in the United States.
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