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  #1  
Old 05-12-2009, 09:52 PM
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Default Ankle fusion

I am interested in hearing from anybody who has had a bone fusion or has great knowledge about it. I have talked to both my orthopedic Doctors and searched the web but would really like to hear from people with first hand experience. It doesn't have to be ankle specific but that is what I am facing. Thanks.

I should also add that this is due to a motorcycle crash back in '85 and it is (believe it or not) causing flashbacks and mental anguish.

Last edited by Gerard; 05-12-2009 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

I did NOT have a wrist fusion and am happy that I didn't. My rheumatologist recommended that I consider it to manage pain in my left wrist. I sought out some of the best surgeons and considered it. They wanted to fuse my left wrist so that it was fixed in place with no rotation or bending between the hand/arm. Basically my hand would have been stuck in 1 position. Now I'm not sure if that is what you are facing with your ankles but that is what I was facing with my left wrist.

I can tell you that my wrist cannot take any shock, it cannot comfortably rotate with any stress of lifting, it can't do a lot of things, but it can move naturally. I don't live in pain, but I do have shooting pains periodically. For whatever reason it used to be worse, its not as bad as it was. Nobody really knows why.

I would only suggest one thing. This surgery cannot be undone. Be very sure it is what you want to do if you do it.
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Hi Bob. It is my right ankle and it would be fused in one fixed permanent position. Once it's done, it's DONE!
I do wear a leg brace to help keep it from bending/flexing to much but that seems to not be working all that well anymore. Again,
I may have a chance of getting a couple more years out of it if the joint can be cleaned out one more time. I'll see my doctor again the 28th of this month.

Last edited by Gerard; 05-12-2009 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:00 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

when was the last time your doc looked at it? the advances that have been made in joint lubrication in the past coule of years is miles beyond that nasty "synvisc" stuff that was being pushed so hard 10 years ago. With luck they can use one of the current meds to save you from a fusion. if not, fixed in one place and only aching when the weather is changing might beat constant ache with any motion in your case. I deal with a lot of medical records and most fusions of weight bearing joints are at best only partially successful. You may luck oput and be one of those it really works for, though, so I can't suggest a way to jump without knowing more of the rest of the story. good luck either way you choose.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Thanks for the reply Erik. I saw him last about 7 months ago. At that time I was told that there really weren't too many options. He gave me some meds but they did next to nothing for the pain.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

ouch. then you may have to try the surgery and hope you're one of the folks who heal well. On the plus side there, they've come a good ways with bone growth stimulators as well, so these things heal better than they used to. important questions that will factor in your success rate: are you diabetic and if so, is it under good control? do you smoke, and if yes, how much? nicotene (tobacco products, nicorette, and "the patch") are vasodilators, which means they slow down/limit your ability to heal. Smoke of any kind interferes with your lungs ability to exchange oxygen -- which will also slow down healing rates. (so does drywall dust and really fine sawdust) uncontrolled diabetes increases your chance of infection. not trying to sound too gloomy, but again - these are things I see in other folks' medical records and I figure having an idea of what your doc will scold you for beforehand will give you some extra time to plan changes or decide if the cost and pain of the surgery will be worth it. good luck and prayers for whichever way you decide to go on this.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

EXCELLENT Erik. Straight up talk is what I'm looking for.
Yes, I smoke which is a downfall for sure from what I've heard but I'm not a diabetic so that's a plus.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

You've heard what one doctor has to say. May I suggest a second opinion?
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakternut View Post
You've heard what one doctor has to say. May I suggest a second opinion?
You're ugly, too. Ba dum bum, tsssss. (Couldn't resist).

Seriously, I gotta second Erik's comments about smoking and fusion surgeries. I know surgeons who won't even do a fusion unless the patient is off of nicotine for 6 months in advance of the surgery. In addition to the vascular issues, I understand smoking also makes your bones softer, and therefore harder for a fusion to take.

Long time no see, btw. How you be?
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakternut View Post
You've heard what one doctor has to say. May I suggest a second opinion?
From paragraph one, "I have talked to both my orthopedic Doctors".

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Old 05-13-2009, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

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Originally Posted by jpr62902 View Post

Long time no see, btw. How you be?
Pretty good for the most part. And you?
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:32 AM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

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Originally Posted by Gerard View Post
Pretty good for the most part. And you?
All's well here!
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Well, the decision is going to be a VERY difficult one to say the least. I kinda like the pain management idea that Bob has mentioned (if I have that option) as I really don't want to be without any movement. No matter what though, it seems like from what I've found out already is that I will always be in pain. The question then is how much and what will be my limitations?
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Sorry to hear that Gerard. Sounds painful either way.
Like JPR said, good to see you posting here again man.

If you don't mind my asking is this an old injury coming back to haunt you or (dare I say it) old age catching up with you?
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Thanks Doc and good question. It's an old injury from 1985. I'm only 43 and that too is weighing in heavy on my mind as well.
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Boy, I can understand that. Best of luck to you with this ordeal. Sounds painful either way. No easy answer.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

bad parachute landing?

On the plus side, you're young enough you might actually heal up pretty good -- if you can cut back on the smoking before the surgery.
hopefully you don't have any issues with peripheral arterial or vascular disease - which is a common cause of these sorts of injuries if it's a new flare up, and can also slow down the healing.
If you have good circulation, are generally in decent health, etc... it could heal up to the point where it will be a dull ache during weather changes and not much worse the rest of the time, once you learn how to walk again -- not flexing takes some getting used to.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

Thanks for the post Erik. Your info is a great help to me. Gives me time to get some facts together to ask my Dr. when I see him.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: Ankle fusion

not knowing how much you smoke, cutting back to even 1/2 pack a day can make a difference. (quitting is better, but may not be an option for you)
avoiding nutrasweet based diet sodas is another - the extra phosphoric acid they add to it to hide the taste leaches calcium from bones. (actually, most "brown" sodas have a lot to begin with)
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