Finally, we have a good, reliable total ankle prosthesis. Now, you don't have to have an ankle fusion.
This video features Dr. Mann, an orthopedic surgeon who helped bring the STAR ankle to the USA. Dr. DeGroot was trained on the STAR ankle technique by Dr. Mann and others.
For years, patients with severe ankle arthritis were told that ankle fusion was the only long-term solution for their pain. Now, after years and years of experience in Europe, and rigorous testing by the FDA here in America, the STAR ankle has been released in the USA. Dr. DeGroot is among the first group of specially trained surgeons who have the advanced knowledge and experience necessary to implant the STAR ankle replacement prosthesis.
Who is the right patient for a STAR ankle replacement? The ideal patient has advanced ankle arthritis with pain that is no longer resonding to non-surgical treatments, such as a brace, pain pills, and the occasional cortisone shot. To qualify, the patient should have healthy skin and soft tissues around the ankle, as well as strong bone stock to hold the prosthesis firmly. Healthy circulation is required, so patients with vascular disease and diabetes are considered on an individual basis. The technical term for the procedure is total ankle arthroplasty, also known as ankle joint replacement. Contact us to see if you qualify.
How long does the surgery take? Surgery usually takes 2 hours and this is followed by an hour in the recovery room. Usually a patient requires about 1 ½ hours prior to surgery to anesthetize the ankle and to complete the evaluation by the anesthesiologist and nursing staff.
How long will I be in the hospital? Most patients stay in the hospital for one or two nights.
Can I go back home right after my stay in the hospital? Most likely yes. Some patients who have difficulty with mobility need to spend a few days in a rehab center. We have a dedicated case manager who helps set this up for you according to your preferences and needs.
How soon can I walk after surgery? Our excellent physical therapists will get you up and going the same day as the surgery, using crutches or a walker. You can begin putting weight on your foot at four weeks, and by eight weeks, most patients are walking in regular shoes.
Will I need physical therapy? We will give you physical therapy in the hospital just to make sure you are safe on crutches or your walker. About three weeks later, physical therapy and range of motion exercises can start.
Will I have a cast after surgery? You will have a splint on your leg after surgery, which will be replaced by a cast one week after surgery. You will be placed in a removable boot three weeks after surgery.
How soon can I drive after STAR ankle replacement? For surgery on the left ankle, most patients can drive as soon as they are mobile, within a week or two. For surgery on the right ankle, driving can resume as soon as full weight-bearing without a boot is permitted.
How soon can I go back to work? This depends largely on your work duties and your method of travel to work. Patients who work in an office can go back to work after three or four weeks.
Will I be able to return to exercising and sports? Yes, definitely. Normal activities, and low intensity sports such as swimming, biking, golf, walking and dancing are perfect. Sports where the ankle is protected by a boot such as gentle skiing, hiking, rollerblading, and skating are also fine.
Are there any long-term restrictions on activities? No, not for normal activities. Normal daily activities, and low intensity sports are fine. High-intensity activities where there are large side-to-side loads on the ankle, such as running, soccer, and competitive tennis are not recommended.
Should an orthopedic surgeon fix my ankle? Many patients prefer to have an orthopedic surgeon do their surgery. All orthopedic surgeons must have four years of medical school and five years of orthopedic training, after which they must be certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. In addition, orthopedic surgeons with sufficiently advanced experience may join the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, of which Dr. DeGroot is a member. Choosing a surgeon is a personal choice, but knowing your surgeon has the most extensive training and experience available can give you the confidence and peace of mind you need.
How long can I wait before having my ankle fixed? Once the arthritis gets past a certain point, there is permanent bone loss, permanent soft tissue contracture, and a gradual wasting away of your overall strength and endurance. Therefore, once the ankle arthritis is advanced, surgery should take place without too much delay. The technical term for the procedure is total ankle arthroplasty, also known as ankle joint replacement.
Will I need to stop my medications before surgery? Certain medications need to be stopped before surgery, we will inform you of these. Most do not. In the first few weeks after surgery, you can resume all your routine medications, with some exceptions. We will carefully review your medications on an individual basis.