[Reorientational arthrodesis of the ankle joint using four screws]

R Grass, S Rammelt, T Endres, H Zwipp
Der Orthopäde 2005, 34 (12): 1209-15

BACKGROUND: Arthrodesis of the ankle has gained wide acceptance as a first-line treatment option for painful posttraumatic osteoarthritis. The technique using four to five lag screws for internal osteosynthesis is a safe and biomechanically stable method to obtain a sound ankle fusion with good to excellent long-term results in the majority of patients. Malalignment hazards are minimized by preservation of the ankle mortise.

METHODS: The meticulous resection of all cartilage and sclerotic bone as well as an atraumatic surgical technique are essential for preventing major complications. The need for revision surgery is minimized by correction of talar malalignment, fusion with the foot in a 90 degrees position and preoperative evaluation of the subtalar joint. In a series of 40 ankle fusions fixed with the lag screw technique, 82.5% good to excellent results were obtained after 5.6 (4.8-7.6) years. No infection, stress fracture or non-union was seen.

RESULTS: In cases of osteitis, osteonecrosis, osteoporosis, and poor soft-tissue condition, external fixation techniques are preferred. In the presence of severe loss of bone stock at the distal tibia, stability can be achieved by using a compression nail for tibiotalar fusion without additional subtalar arthrodesis.

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