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Outcomes of Tibiocalcaneal Arthrodesis in High-Risk Patients: An Institutional Cohort of 18 Patients

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Tibiocalcaneal (TC) arthrodesis is commonly performed in patients with severe hindfoot disease. These include severe Charcot deformities, ankle malformations, chronic osteomyelitis (COM), and avascular necrosis (AVN). The talar vascular becomes disrupted to the point that the bone can no longer be salvaged. The procedure involves performing a talectomy and fusing the tibia to the calcaneus. This helps in preserving the remaining hindfoot anatomy, while allowing the patient to regain function and mobility. Our study highlights certain risk factors that influence the rate of postoperative complication after tibiocalcaneal surgery.

Materials and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 18 patients from a single institution who underwent tibiocalcaneal between the years of 2011 and 2019. Preoperative diagnoses, comorbidities, and post-operative outcomes were noted among all patients. Then, the rates of non-union, below-knee amputations, revision surgeries, postoperative infections, and hardware failure were recorded. These data were then analyzed to determine which preoperative and perioperative factors affected postoperative outcomes for patients after tibiocalcaneal arthrodesis surgery.


Nonunion was the most commonly reported complication in this series. Eight of the eighteen patients were documented to have nonunion including three patients with stable pseudarthrosis. Diabetic patients had a slightly higher incidence of nonunion (4 of 7 patients) compared to those without diabetes (4 of 11 patients). Of the nine patients diagnosed with Charcot arthropathy, five had nonunion. Three of the five individuals with a BMI ranging from 25 to 30, and four of the six individuals with a BMI of greater than 30 had a nonunion. Infection was a post-operative complication for four of the eighteen patients. Two of the four patients had multiple comorbidities in addition to chronic infections in the joint which were recurrent after surgery.


In conclusion, TC arthrodesis provides a viable option for high-risk patients with complicated ankle pathology who have not had successful outcomes from previous treatment. It is not without complications considering the comorbidities the patients present with before requiring this procedure. Further studies are necessary to validate the trends of outcomes and comorbidities of patients with TC arthrodesis.

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Correspondence to Ashish Shah.

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Love, B., Alexander, B., Ray, J. et al. Outcomes of Tibiocalcaneal Arthrodesis in High-Risk Patients: An Institutional Cohort of 18 Patients. JOIO 54, 14–21 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43465-020-00048-z

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  • Tibiocalcaneal arthrodesis
  • Arthrodesis
  • Complications
  • Talus