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, 56 (2), 242-246

Obtaining Correct Ankle Alignment Using Intraoperative External Fixation for Ankle Arthrodesis


Obtaining Correct Ankle Alignment Using Intraoperative External Fixation for Ankle Arthrodesis

Reza Firoozabadi et al. J Foot Ankle Surg.


Ankle arthrodesis remains an important treatment option for patients with ankle arthritis. Many methods have been described; however, no consensus has been reached regarding the best technique to achieve both successful fusion and a good position for optimal foot mechanics. Furthermore, as arthroplasty has become more popular, preservation of the fibula to allow for future arthroplasty has become critical. The present report describes an innovative technique in which temporary external fixation at operative fixation is used, along with internal fixation, to achieve both an optimal foot position and high fusion rates, while maintaining the integrity of the fibula. Seventeen patients were identified who met the criteria for inclusion. Their medical records, including pre- and postoperative radiographs, were reviewed retrospectively. Preoperative and postoperative coronal and sagittal alignment was determined. All patients achieved successful fusion, although 1 (5.9%) patient experienced delayed union. The average tibial/talar ratio preoperatively was 21% (range 8% to 33%), demonstrating anterior subluxation. Postoperatively, this ratio improved to 33% (range 26% to 40%), approximating the normal anatomic ratio. Of the 17 patients, 5 (29.4%) had preoperative varus or valgus alignment of the talas >5°. All 5 cases were successfully corrected to within 2° of normal anatomic alignment. This technique allows the surgeon to achieve good visualization of the joint for preparation and to obtain the optimal position of the foot at arthrodesis without compromising the lateral column significance of the fibula. All patients obtained fusion, and minimal complications were associated with the use of this technique.

Keywords: ankle fusion; deformity; external fixator; temporary fixation.

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