, Volume 468, Issue 4, pp 958-968
Date: 10 Sep 2009

High Union Rates and Function Scores at Midterm Followup With Ankle Arthrodesis Using a Four Screw Technique

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Abstract

When evaluating the role of ankle arthrodesis in the treatment of severe ankle arthritis, postoperative infection, nonunion, and the development of arthritis at the adjacent joints are major issues when considering treatment alternatives. We evaluated the rate of complications, the functional outcome, and compensatory range of motion at the midtarsal joint at medium-term followup after ankle arthrodesis with four cancellous screws. We performed 94 ankle fusions in 92 patients; 12 patients were lost to followup and eight declined to participate, leaving 72 patients (76%) for evaluation. The minimum followup was 4.8 years (mean, 5.9; range, 4.8–7.8 years). No patient developed a deep infection; three patients developed postoperative hematoma which we operatively drained. Union occurred in 93 of the 94 patients (99%). The sagittal motion at the midtarsal joint averaged 24°. Secondary arthritis of the subtalar and talonavicular joints developed during the followup period in 17% and 11%, respectively. Progression of preexisting arthritis occurred in 13 of 43 patients (30%) at the subtalar joint and five of 26 patients (19%) at the talonavicular joint. None of these patients had fusion of an adjacent joint. The average American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score increased from 36 preoperatively to 85 at followup. Ankle arthrodesis with screws provides high rates of union, reliable pain relief, and favorable functional medium-term results.

Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she has no commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation and that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.