Dr. Bleazard has a passion for foot and ankle surgery. He performs complex foot and ankle reconstruction, including total ankle replacements, flat foot and cavovarus deformities, as well as tendon and ligament reconstructions. Prior to joining Kansas City Bone and Joint, Dr. Bleazard practiced at North Kansas City Hospital and St. Luke’s North-Barry Road. He graduated from Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville, Ky., and completed his orthopedic residency in Kansas City at St. Mary’s Medical Center. After residency, he completed an orthopedic foot and ankle fellowship under Dr. Gregory Pomeroy at New England Foot and Ankle Specialists.
Q: What is total ankle arthroplasty?
A: Total ankle arthroplasty, or total ankle replacement, is a procedure used to treat ankle arthritis. Ankle arthritis is a loss of articular cartilage from the ankle joint due to the effects of aging or an injury such as repeated ankle sprains, fractures or dislocations.
Q: Who is a good candidate for total ankle arthroplasty, and who should avoid it?
A: Patients who have failed conservative treatments for pain in the ankle due to arthritis are candidates for total ankle arthroplasty. Conservative treatments for ankle arthritis include anti-inflammatory medications, bracing and physical therapy.
Patients with significant deformity, history of infection or poor bone quality are not good candidates for total ankle arthroplasty.
Q: What is the benefit of an ankle replacement?
A: The benefit of ankle replacement is retention of ankle motion. When the ankle is replaced, the majority of movement is retained. Also, the remaining joints of the foot are under less stress. In contrast to an ankle arthrodesis, or ankle fusion, where the ankle is fused solid and the motion for ambulation is reliant on the joints of the foot, which adds increased wear and arthritis to the foot. Over the last 10 years, there has been a dramatic improvement in technology in implant designs and techniques. This has led to a significant increase in patient satisfaction, allowing them to live a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Q: What happens after the surgery?
A: After the surgery, the patient is immobilized with a splint or cast and is non-weight-bearing for a period of time to allow the incision to heal. During this period, the patient is under strict elevation requirements to control swelling. After the incision is healed, patients often begin gentle motion exercises before beginning to bear weight. Weight-bearing can take four to eight weeks, depending on healing of the incision and X-rays.