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Building a New and Better Ankle
Date:9/2/2008

Improvements in Design Help Strengthen Total Ankle Replacements

ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Some form of total ankle replacements (TAR), have been available to patients in the United States since first arriving in the marketplace more than 30 years ago. These implants have gone through several design evolution phases. A review article published in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (http://www.jaaos.org/) discusses the different types of total ankle replacement implants available now, both in the United States and abroad, and explains how vast improvements in their design are helping to advance the field and bring relief to patients.

"When we started off, the ankles we used in this country included just two components and we had to use bone cement to fix them and basically they all failed," said Andrea Cracchiolo, MD, lead author of the article and Director of the Adult Foot and Ankle section at UCLA Medical Center. "The difference between the first generation implants and those today is that you don't need to use bone cement. The surfaces are such that the bone will grow into the joint much like in total hip replacement."

Currently, four designs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States. All are two-component designs which are considered fixed implants. In many countries outside of the United States, surgeons have been using three-component ankles for several years. According to Dr. Cracchiolo, a three-component ankle may allow for more movement in the joint and may also be easier for orthopaedic surgeons to implant. Here in the U.S. a three-component device has been recommended for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. However, it could be late 2008 or longer before it will be made available to U.S. patients.

While total ankle replacement offers patients more m
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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