Safety and efficiency of a 2-portal lateral approach to arthroscopic subtalar arthrodesis: a cadaveric study

Francois Lintz, Claude Guillard, Fabrice Colin, Jean-Baptiste Marchand, Jean Brilhault
Arthroscopy: the Journal of Arthroscopic & related Surgery 2013, 29 (7): 1217-23

PURPOSE: To investigate the safety and efficiency of a 2-portal lateral (anterior and middle) approach to arthroscopic subtalar arthrodesis.

METHODS: A cadaveric study was performed on 30 feet of 15 fresh cadaveric bodies (15 right and 15 left; 21 female specimens and 9 male specimens). The mean age at death was 78 ± 6.7 years. The procedure was performed with the specimen in the supine position through 2 lateral (anterior and middle) sinus tarsi portals by use of a 4.0-mm arthroscope. A 3.5-mm synovial shaver was used for debridement, and a 4.5-mm shielded bur was used to resect posterior subtalar facets. The feet were then dissected. The primary outcomes were the percentage of resected joint surface and the distances between portals and both sural and superficial peroneal nerves. The secondary outcomes were injury of sinus tarsi ligaments and lateral arterial network, calcaneofibular ligament, peroneal tendons, flexor hallucis longus tendon, and posterior tibial neurovascular bundle.

RESULTS: The mean percentages of resected talar and calcaneal posterior subtalar facets were 94% ± 7.2% and 91% ± 6.8%, respectively. The minimum distance of either subtalar portal to the nerves was 4 mm. No nerve injury was observed. In 28 of 30 cases, the lateral sinus tarsi arterial network was found intact. In all cases the inferior retinaculum extensor was transfixed by the portals. In all cases both cervical and interosseous talocalcaneal ligaments were found intact. In 3 cases a shaving lesion was observed on the peroneus brevis tendon.

CONCLUSIONS: According to this cadaveric study, more than 90% freshening of the posterior subtalar articular facets can be achieved through a 2-portal lateral (anterior and middle) approach. This technique is reproducible and safe with regard to the surrounding nerves.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The 2 lateral portals may offer a safe and effective alternative approach for arthroscopic arthrodesis of the posterior subtalar joint.

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