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Joint Fusion

Part 2 of 2 - Joint Fusion Is Also Known As Arthrodesis

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Updated May 27, 2014

Question: What are some of the complications of having a joint fusion?

Answer: As with any surgery, infection is a possible complication as well as wound dehiscence (re-opening). A failed fusion is also a possibility whereby the bone ends do not completely fuse despite fixation.

Question: On which joints is fusion most likely to work?

Answer: The most common sites for joint fusion surgery are the:

Question: Is it harder to walk barefoot than with shoes after an ankle fusion?

Answer: I have not found it to be more difficult to walk with or without shoes. For patients with a well-aligned ankle fusion, the walking gait in an appropriate shoe (obviously high-heels are out!) is nearly normal. Running gait or walking on uneven ground is made more difficult.

Question: What about fusion in the toes and the fingers? Is this a difficult operation and does it bring relief from pain and increased use of the joints?

Answer: Fusion is not regarded as a "difficult operation", but the period of recuperation is long and arduous. As with the ankle or any joint being fused, motion is sacrificed for pain relief and stability. Some function can possibly be restored via the increased stability.

Question: After a wrist fusion how much movement is available? Can one still write and type?

Answer: I believe the ability to write or type would depend largely on the individual and the condition of their fingers. The motion for writing and typing comes mostly from the fingers. Complications also would play a part, since it is noted that carpal tunnel syndrome may occur in up to 20% of patients following wrist arthrodesis.

More About Ankle Fusion and Ankle Surgery

More About Wrist Fusion And Wrist Surgery

More About Toe Fusion And Toe Surgery

More About Finger Fusion And Finger Surgery

More About Neck And Neck Surgery

Related Resources

Source: Wheeless Textbook of Orthopedics

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