A ground-breaking technique means that people with ankle arthritis have a new option for total ankle replacement that does not involve metal implants or bone fusion. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 20% of adults have diagnosed arthritis, and that number is expected to increase significantly in the future. Ankle arthritis can cause considerable pain, loss of function, and limited activity. Traditional metal ankle replacements have a high rate of failure, complications, and few options for revision surgery. The new non-metal implant is made of collagen that is very compatible with the human body. In fact, there is no need to take antibiotics and no risk of rejection.
Dr. Daniel K. Lee of the University of California San Diego Medical Center pioneered the new biological ankle replacement. The minimally invasive surgical procedure involves removing damaged ankle cartilage through a small incision and inserting the FDA approved collagen. The collagen is molded and customized to the patient’s particular ankle shape. An external stabilizer is worn for 4 to 6 weeks to protect the joint while it heals. The new biological ankle replacement offers new hope for people with ankle arthritis.