Post-Operative Care After Joint Reconstruction Surgery

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65.,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.

Image Credit: Mount Sinai 

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Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

If your joints become damaged via medical conditions such as advanced arthritis, one of the best ways to treat the conditions will be via a surgical procedure that is known as joint reconstruction. During the procedure, a reconstruction of the joint will occur, while preserving the maximum existing tissues. 

There are a variety of reconstructive surgeries of the joint, and your orthopaedic surgeon will determine the best path for you. Typical options include arthroscopy, osteotomy and arthrodesis. 

It will be important for you to ensure that you are abiding to the post operative care practices, in order to minimise the odds of any complications during the healing time frame. For orthopaedic surgical cases, patients can develop complications such as site infections and blood clots. In order to prevent these hindrances to recovery, there are practices that you can implement after your surgery. 

Before Your Joint Reconstruction Surgery 

Preparation is always the key to a successful joint reconstruction surgery. Prior to your surgery a preliminary diagnosis, analysis of your medical history and your surgical plan would have been discussed by your orthopaedic team. Any pre-existing conditions can be managed, in order to prevent complications after surgery. One great practice that you must implement prior to surgery is to quit smoking. Smoking has downstream effects on healing of the body, and must be avoided at all costs. 

After Your Joint Reconstruction Surgery 

Post your surgery, it is important to ensure that your joint site is kept clean, in order to minimise the odds of infection. Your orthopaedic surgeon will prescribe antibiotics in order to control the condition. Notify your orthopaedic surgeon if you notice any abnormal symptoms such as fever, swelling and pain, or any seepage from the surgical site. Minor wound infections are treatable via intravenous antibiotics, while adverse conditions will require re-entry via an additional surgery. 

Always ensure that you are paying attention to how your body is feeling after you have had a surgical procedure conducted. With your orthopaedic surgeon’s help, you will be able to minimise the pain you experience, optimise your healing time and prevent additional complications. Incorporating an adequate physical therapy plan, will ensure that full mobility is achieved. 

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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