Background: The AES (Ankle Evolutive System) is a cobalt-chromium three-component ankle prosthesis with a hydroxyapatite coating, similar to the Buechel-Pappas ankle prosthesis, but with some modifications. Our objective was to assess its medium term follow-up results as well as its complications.
Methods: 21 patients (mean age of 57.6 years) were operated by a total ankle arthroplasty (TAA), using the AES implant, according to the standard technique. Only 18 patients were included. The other three patients were excluded from the study: two had been revised for avascular talar necrosis and one patient was happy with her outcome but could not present for logistic reasons at the last follow-up. Indications for surgery included posttraumatic osteoarthritis, primary osteoarthritis, hemochromatosis, rheumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis as a sequel of ankle instability. All patients were analyzed clinically and radiologically. Special attention was given to the presence or not of areas of osteolysis around the implants as well on conventional radiography as on CT-scan imaging, according to a specific protocol.
Results: The mean follow-up was 39.4 months. Average American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) ankle-hindfoot score improved from 52.2 preoperatively to 86.6 postoperatively. No intra-operative complications or early complications have been noted. Delayed complications were the following: one valgus malalignment, one recurrent painful anterior heterotrophic bone formation. Above all, we noted on conventional X-ray the presence of osteolysis in 77% (14) of our patients, with a size of 0.5-1cm or greater on conventional X-ray. The most vulnerable area seemed to be the posterior tibial plafond. The four remaining patients did not show any cyst formation on X-ray but did also, just as the other 14 patients, on the CT-scan. CT-scan, on the contrary, found more osteolysis in the body of the talus, underneath the implant, an area masked on conventional X-ray. Only one patient was revised with allograft bone filling of a symptomatic osteolysis, without the need for implant removal.
Conclusions: This retrospective study shows a high frequency of delayed appearance of osteolysis (77%) in 18 AES total ankle arthroplasties. Fortunately at this moment and considering one revision, this considerable amount of asymptomatic osteolysis could not warrant a durable uncomplicated outcome.
Copyright 2009 European Foot and Ankle Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.