An arthrodesis procedure is sometimes performed for the treatment of advance arthritis. Depending on the joint involved, arthrodesis can be an alternative to a joint replacement surgery, and may be recommended in certain individuals who are likely to have problems with joint replacements. In some cases, arthrodesis is recommended to younger, more active individuals who are likely to have problems wearing out a joint replacement.
Complications of an arthrodesis include increased wear on neighboring joints (since the joints above and below the fusion have to do more work) and nonunion of the fusion. In addition, patients undergoing arthrodesis need to understand the affected joint will no longer bend.