East Tallinn Central Hospital begins performing ankle replacement surgery


Ankle replacement can help people suffering from ankle joint wear and tear or those who have suffered an injury to the ankle joint.

Dr Dmitri Kulak hüppeliigese vahetuse operatsioonil

East Tallinn Central Hospital previously performed ankle replacements 14 years ago. “East Tallinn Central Hospital is a excellent competence centre in the field of orthopaedics,” says Orthopaedist Dr Dmitri Kulak. “We wanted to bring back the skill that was once initiated here. The goal is to provide a complete solution in this sector.” The first of such surgeries will be performed by Dr Kulak today and tomorrow. He received special training for the new generation of prostheses in Italy and Great Britain.

“Behind this idea are several orthopaedists; we have a very strong team of foot specialists, which will hopefully soon expand,” says Dr Kulak. He emphasises that this is a team effort and that the team has the competence to solve all orthopaedic problems related to the foot and ankle. “Orthopaedics is becoming more segmented,” explains the orthopaedist. “East Tallinn Central Hospital has been a strong presence in orthopaedics for a long time. Our orthopaedists perform shoulder surgery, knee surgery and hip surgery, to name a few. We have been strong in foot and ankle surgery for a long time. Now we want to offer a complete solution. When a patient comes to us, we can offer them the entire spectrum, from trauma surgery to reconstructive surgery, when it is necessary to restore foot and ankle structures, such as in the case of ligament injury. In the case of osteoarthritis, we can offer the entire treatment spectrum in one place.”

This surgery can help people who suffer from ankle joint wear and tear diseases such as ankle osteoarthritis, but with certain variations depending on the patient’s age, needs and risk factors. Prior to the procedure, a discussion is held with the patient to determine whether joint replacement or fusion is the best approach to their osteoarthritis. The demand for ankle replacement surgery in Estonia is estimated to be 15-17 cases per year. “The prostheses are of very high quality,” says Dr Kulak. “The ones we are going to use now are third-generation prostheses, which are currently some of the best in the world.” Recovery takes three to four months; the patient will be able to walk early on, though initially with crutches. The surgery itself lasts about an hour and a half.

The Orthopaedic Centre of East Tallinn Central Hospital is reportedly the second in Estonia to perform ankle replacement surgeries; in the near future, however, it may be the only one.