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The ankle replacement rise and fall

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency have issued a new alert

Hips and knees are replaced all the time or so it seems but did you know that arthritic ankles can also be replaced? In fact, ankle replacements are becoming more and more common.

Patients undergoing ankle replacement are typically in their 40s through 60s, although older individuals who are “physiologically young” may also be good candidates

Total ankle replacement surgery—also called ankle arthroplasty — involves replacing the damaged joint with an artificial joint. This procedure is becoming the preferred treatment to replace fusion surgery but the drawbacks are only now becoming apparent.

Although total ankle replacement has been around for more than 30 years, only recently have industry breakthroughs expanded the choices of implants. With the choices have also come more manufacturers and more competition to produce the implants cheaply.


In 2009 the Society of Bone and Joint Surgery published the findings of Dr H. Tiusanen and others regarding their concerns about the use of Ankle Evolutive System total ankle replacement

A shocking three years later after this was published there has been the release of a Medical Device Alert due to a higher than expected frequency of osteolytic lesions for patients implanted with AES total ankle replacement implants. For those of you familiar with the recent PIP breast implant scandal you will be aware that the implants were produced and approved in France. The country of origin for AES is also France and this is where this product would also have been certified as safe to be used.

The manufacturer has informed the MHRA that approximately 450 of these devices were implanted in the UK from 2002 to 2009 inclusive.

The AES ankle replacement

The Ankle Evolutive System (AES) is a modular system, used in primary procedures or in revision, designed in the South of France. Its features are Cobalt-Chromium cementless prosthesis with porous coat.

What can go wrong

This device displays a higher than expected frequency of lesions but they do not yet know the reason for the increased frequency. The manufacturer has informed the MHRA that approximately 450 of these devices were implanted in the UK from 2002 to 2009 inclusive.

Generally there may be persistent symptoms of pain and a limited range of motion. Locking and catching are symptoms of a displaced fragment of cartilage. Swelling and stiffness is seen much of the time.

How we can help

We are dedicated personal injury lawyers who are able to assist you with obtaining compensation. Since the Medial Device Alert was only issued very recently (18/07/2012) it is unlikely you will immediately receive notification and this process can take sometime.

If you are concerned that you have suffered ill health due to the ankle implant then please contact Harris Fowler so that we may consider the details and, if we believe you have reasonable prospects of a successful claim, then we will be able to assist you on a No Win No Fee basis. This is a free claim assessment and you will be able to decide whether to pursue compensation.

Please contact us on 0800 213214 or complete our simple on line enquiry form to discuss claiming compensation.