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Risks to the blood supply of the talus with four methods of total ankle arthroplasty: a cadaveric injection study

Joshua N Tennant, Chamnanni Rungprai, Marc A Pizzimenti, Jessica Goetz, Phinit Phisitkul, John Femino, Annunziato Amendola
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2014 March 5, 96 (5): 395-402
24599201

BACKGROUND: Despite the use of contemporary total ankle arthroplasty implant designs, clinical outcomes of total ankle arthroplasty continue to lag behind those of other joint replacement procedures. Disruption of the extraosseous talar blood supply at the time of ankle replacement may be a factor contributing to talar component subsidence-a common mechanism of early failure following ankle replacement. We evaluated the risk of injury to specific extraosseous arteries supplying the talus associated with specific total ankle arthroplasty implants.

METHODS: Sixteen fresh-frozen through-knee cadaveric specimens were injected with latex and barium sulfate distal to the popliteal trifurcation to visualize the arteries. Four specimens each were prepared for implantation of four contemporary total ankle arthroplasty systems: Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR), INBONE II, Salto Talaris, and Trabecular Metal Total Ankle (TMTA). Postoperative computed tomography scans and 6% sodium hypochlorite chemical debridement were used to examine, measure, and document the proximity of the total ankle arthroplasty instrumentation to the extraosseous talar blood supply.

RESULTS: All four implant types subjected the extraosseous talar blood supply to the risk of injury. The INBONE subtalar drill hole directly transected the artery of the tarsal canal in three of four specimens. The lateral approach for the TMTA transected the first perforator of the peroneal artery in two of four specimens. The STAR caused medial injury to the deltoid branches in all four specimens, whereas the other three systems did not directly affect this supply (p < 0.005). The Salto Talaris and STAR implants caused injury to the artery of the tarsal canal in one of four specimens.

CONCLUSIONS: All four total ankle arthroplasty systems tested posed a risk of injury to the extraosseous talar blood supply, but the risks of injury to specific arteries were higher for specific implants.

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