JOURNAL ARTICLE

Distal tibiofibular bone-bridging in transtibial amputation

Michael S Pinzur, Jennifer Beck, Ryan Himes, John Callaci
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2008, 90 (12): 2682-7
19047714

BACKGROUND: The creation of a bone bridge between the residual tibia and fibula is a controversial surgical technique used in the performance of transtibial amputation.

METHODS: Twenty consecutive patients who underwent a unilateral transtibial amputation, as a consequence of traumatic injury, had distal tibiofibular bone-bridging performed by a single surgeon. Eight completed the Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ), a validated outcomes instrument designed to measure patient self-reported health-related quality of life after a lower-extremity amputation. Their responses were compared with those of a previously reported control group of nondiabetic patients who had undergone transtibial amputation with the use of a traditional technique and with those of a previously reported consecutive group of Brazilian patients, including twelve who were diabetic, who had undergone a similar bone-bridge procedure.

RESULTS: The scores in the American bone-bridge group were similar to those in the control group and not as good as those in the Brazilian bone-bridge group. The American bone-bridge and control groups scored lower in the Social Burden, Ambulation, Frustration, Sounds, Utility, and Well-Being domains of the PEQ.

CONCLUSIONS: While many experts in the care of amputees believe that the distal tibiofibular bone-bridge technique improves patient functional outcomes, our small group of patients treated with this procedure did not appear to have better outcomes than a group of patients treated successfully with a standard surgical technique. More information is needed before the bone-bridge technique can be recommended as an important component of standard transtibial amputation surgery.

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