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Charcot Neuroarthropathy: Current Surgical Management and Update. A Systematic Review.

BACKGROUND: Charcot neuroarthropathy of the ankle and the hindfoot is a complex clinical entity with a high risk of amputation. Charcot neuroarthropathy limb reconstruction has been proposed as a limb-salvaging procedure. However, there was a lack of information on the various available reconstruction methods, including the outcomes and complications. The present study aimed to evaluate the current literature and update on the trends regarding the surgical management of Charcot neuroarthropathy of the ankle and the hindfoot.

METHODS: All data published from January 2010 to January 2020 that investigated the methods of fixation and their respective outcomes for the surgical reconstruction in Charcot neuroarthropathy were analyzed. The union rate, amputation rates, and complications associated with these techniques were taken for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 16 studies fit the inclusion criteria of this study, with four Level-III studies and 12 Level-IV studies were included. Ten studies utilized internal fixation only; five used a combination of internal fixation and circular external fixator, whereby there are three comparative studies between internal and external fixations, and two studies applied combined technique of internal and external fixations (hybrid fixation). One study describes the usage of circular external fixation only.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of retrograde intramedullary nail as a treatment of choice in the reconstruction of Charcot neuroarthropathy ankle is recommended before an ulcer occurrence. Hydroxyapatite (HA)- coated screws are recommended for the locking mechanism to prevent migration in Charcot neuroarthropathy due to poor bony quality. Hybrid fixation is recommended for reconstruction in a condition of ulceration and more complex deformity as it provides a higher rate of limb salvage with less soft tissue irritation.

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