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Most people are aware that the technology exists to replace arthritic hips and knees, but patients suffering from ankle osteoarthritis didn’t have many options until recently. Technological advancements are changing the way severe ankle osteoarthritis is treated and sufferers like Dr. Richard Pressley, a retired neurosurgeon from North Carolina have benefitted greatly.

Dr. Pressley was an extremely active person, but between medical school and family life, he didn’t always have time to pursue his hobbies. When he got the opportunity to go skiing toward the end of his residency in 1971, he didn’t hesitate to accept.

In what turned out to be a life-changing trip, Dr. Pressley broke his leg and, subsequently, developed a deformed ankle. (Because he was in the middle of his residency, he was unable to stay off his feet and, as a result, his ankle did not heal properly.) He spent years in pain, but was forced to keep moving; literally!

During his career, Dr. Pressley spent hours standing performing delicate surgeries and conducting the follow up care that was needed for his patients. Every time he felt pain, he kept moving forward. Although the pain was significant at times, his dedication to his patients and to his family carried him through the early stages of ankle osteoarthritis. However, in 2005, more than three decades of agony finally caught up with him.

Each morning Dr. Pressley felt a sharp pain that would start at his throbbing ankle and shoot up his leg. He ended each day by icing and elevating his ankle and when he tried to sleep, any slight movement would cause sharp shooting pains that kept him awake for hours. Over-the-counter and prescription medication failed to offer any type of relief.

Frustrated by his inability to live life, he began researching options. One surgeon suggested that Dr. Pressley undergo an ankle fusion; a procedure that fuses two bones together but limits the range of motion and flexibility of the joint. Dr. Pressley was reluctant to undergo a procedure that would be so limiting. After hearing his concerns, his surgeon offered an alternative suggestion. He informed Dr. Pressley about a physician who was offering patients a total ankle replacement, Dr Robert Anderson in Charlotte. After learning about this option, Dr. Pressley scheduled a consultation.

After examining his severely damaged ankle, Dr. Anderson suggested treatment with an INBONE Total Ankle Replacement. After reviewing the literature and discussing it with his wife, Dr. Pressley made the decision to move forward with surgery.

The INBONE Total Ankle is intended to be used to treat patients with ankle joints damaged by severe arthritis or a failed previous ankle surgery. The INBONE Total Ankle is intended to give patients limited mobility by reducing pain and restoring movement in the ankle.  

Not everyone is a good candidate for the INBONE Total Ankle. Talk to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and health to find out if surgery with the INBONE Total Ankle is a good option for you.

The surgery took place on Aug. 30, 2008 and since then, according to Dr. Pressley, the results have been outstanding. He awoke from surgery and immediately noticed that the throbbing pain experienced for decades was gone. Six weeks after surgery, he was walking with the assistance of a boot. Ten weeks after the operation, he was exercising on a stationary bike and walking without aides.

Many factors contribute to the length of hospital stay and rehabilitation. These factors include, but are not limited to, your age and health at the time of surgery as well as your surgeon’s determination of the appropriate hospital stay and rehabilitation. Additionally, there are risks associated with ankle replacement surgery such as pain and bruising, damage to blood vessels or nerves, infection, or blood clots that can travel to your heart or lungs. If you experience these complications, your hospital stay may be extended.

Today, instead of icing and elevating his ankle, Dr. Pressley is enjoying his retirement. He enjoys regular walks with his wife and traveling. Most importantly, he is enjoying his hobbies of model ship building and woodworking – which were nearly impossible prior to his ankle replacement. As Dr. Pressley says, “Since having my ankle replaced, I am enjoying my retirement more than ever!”

Once you have healed, there is the possibility that the bone surrounding the INBONE Total Ankle may lose its ability to support the implant. If this occurs, additional surgery may be required to replace the implant or fuse your ankle. Additionally, it is unknown how long the implant can be expected to perform well once implanted.

These results are specific to this individual only. Individual results and activity levels after surgery vary and depend on many factors including age, weight and prior activity level. There are risks and recovery times associated with surgery and there are certain individuals who should not undergo surgery.