Arthrodesis is a type of surgery that joins (fuses) 2 bones in a diseased joint so that the joint can no longer move. It may be done when pain and disability or instability from a diseased joint can no longer be managed with medicines, splints, and other methods.

The surgery may be done on joints such as the fingers, knees, ankles, or spine. Depending on the joint and the particular disease the person has, different methods of doing arthrodesis are possible. For example:

  • Bone from elsewhere in the person's body or from a bone bank can be used to make a "bridge" between the bones and to stimulate growth of new bone.
  • Metal implants may be secured to the bones to hold them together until new bone grows to complete the fusion. Depending on the joint, these procedures may have high complication rates.

Current as of: May 22, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics