Total ankle replacement systems available in the United States.
Ankle replacement continues to be a viable option for treating patients with ankle arthritis. Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of ankle replacement systems available for use. Current controversy centers on whether fixed- or mobile-bearing devices are most advantageous. Most total ankle systems used outside the United States are mobile-bearing devices, whereas ankle replacement systems used in the United States are all essentially fixed-bearing devices. Not all ankles with degenerative changes are amenable to replacement surgery, and several exclusion criteria are well documented. Ankle replacement is especially complicated because of the ankle's proximity to the foot and the important role that the balance and alignment of the foot play in the success of the ankle replacement. Foot deformities should be treated before or at the time of ankle replacement surgery. Ignoring foot deformities can lead to failure of the ankle replacement. It is also of paramount importance to consider the stability of the ankle ligaments. An unstable ankle with a varus or valgus deformity of more than 20 degrees is probably not amenable to ankle replacement. There are currently no reliable options to predictably reconstruct the lateral or medial ligaments in these severe deformities. It is important to be aware of the ankle replacement systems currently available in the United States and understand the key features of each design. Devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, a device that is awaiting approval, and a device that is being evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration in a prospective randomized clinical trial are discussed, along with an objective comparison of fixed- and mobile-bearing devices.
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