[Ankle arthrodesis with interposition graft as a salvage procedure after failed total ankle replacement]

Stephan Schill
Operative Orthopädie und Traumatologie 2007, 19 (5-6): 547-60

OBJECTIVE: Restoration of painless function to the lower limb by ankle fusion after failure of total ankle arthroplasty.

INDICATIONS: Loose total ankle replacement. Severe ankle destruction and axial deviation in rheumatoid patients. Severe osteoarthritis in the subtalar and ankle joints.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Infected total ankle replacement. Severe arterial occlusive disease of the affected extremity.

SURGICAL TECHNIQUE: Transfibular approach to the subtalar and ankle joints. Osteotomy and resection of the distal fibula 7-8 cm proximal to the tip of the lateral malleolus. Removal of the prosthetic components, synovectomy, and revitalization of the remaining bone surface. Removal of any residual articular cartilage from the subtalar joint surfaces. Determination of the extent of bone loss and defect filling with horizontally or vertically placed tricortical and cancellous bone graft from the resected fibula and, if necessary, from the ipsilateral anterior iliac crest. Tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis by retrograde insertion of a retrograde locking nail. Wound closure in layers. Split below-knee cast.

POSTOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT: Mobilization with below-knee cast without weight bearing for 6 weeks. Dynamic locking of the intramedullary nail. Partial weight bearing with a walker up to 20 kg for an additional 6 weeks. Gradual increase in weight bearing in accordance with radiologic evidence of consolidation. Fitted orthopedic shoe with rocker-bottom sole, and made to measure insoles.

RESULTS: From January 2003 to September 2006, 15 patients with infected ankle prosthesis loosening (six Thompson-Richards prostheses, eight S.T.A.R. prostheses, and one Salto prosthesis) were treated. All patients underwent tibiotalocalcaneal interposition arthrodesis with femoral nailing in retrograde technique. The average AOFAS (American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society) Score was 57.9 points (35-81 points) postoperatively. One patient developed a nonunion and revision surgery will have to be performed. Another patient with delayed wound healing and skin necrosis needed plastic surgery.

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