Complete subtalar release for older children who had recurrent clubfoot deformity

Freih Odeh Abu Hassan, Samir Jabaiti, Tarek El tamimi
Foot and Ankle Surgery: Official Journal of the European Society of Foot and Ankle Surgeons 2010, 16 (1): 38-44

BACKGROUND: Neglected idiopathic clubfoot deformities, and severe recurrent deformity after previous surgery presents technical difficulties for correction and challenges for surgeons to achieve primary skin closure.

METHODS: Between 2000 and 2006, 18 children (30 feet), had complete subtalar release (CSTR) for failed previous surgery in 28 feet and severe neglected congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV) in 2 feet followed by cross leg fasciocutaneous flaps for reconstruction of residual defect at the ankle and foot after full correction of the deformity. Mean patients followed up were 4.5 years (average 2-8 years). 23 feet were classified as Dimeglio III and 7 feet as Dimeglio IV.

RESULTS: All cases achieved a plantigrade foot, better walking ability (p<0.03), and parental satisfaction with the result (p<0.001). Ankle joint doriflexion increased from mean (-21.33 degrees ) preoperatively to (12.5 degrees ) postoperatively. All cases showed postoperative improvement in their radiographic findings. The mean preoperative talocalcaneal angle increased from (15.7 degrees to 30.03 degrees ). The talo-first metararsal angle improved from a preoperative mean of -16 degrees mean of 5.53 degrees postoperatively. At the final follow-up cosmetically acceptable plantigrade foot was achieved in all feet. Four legs (14.28%) developed hypertrophic scars at the donar flap site. One patient developed 1.5cm marginal necrosis of the flap, which did heal after debridement by secondary intention. None of the feet had recurrence at the final follow up. Despite the enormous improvement clinically and radiologically, their was no statistical significant difference between preoperative and postoperative radiological angles (p<0.069). The number of previous surgical interventions had no influence on the outcome. All the previously treated feet had inadequate release of important tethered soft tissue.

CONCLUSION: This is indicative of the enormous value of complete subtalar release combined with cross leg fasciocutaneous flap without the need for bony intervention in previously operated failed feet or neglected deformities.

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