Background: Sagittal implant malalignment after total ankle replacement (TAR) has been considered to be a possible cause for premature implant failure. In a prior study, the change over time of the tibiotalar ratio (T-T ratio), which is the ratio between the posterior longitudinal talar length and the full longitudinal talar length, was assessed in 66 TARs where an unconstrained, mobile-bearing implant was implanted. The analysis documented an increase in the T-T ratio between 2 and 6 months post-surgery (on average from 34.6% to 37.2%). We hypothesized that this change might have been related to the presence of a mobile-bearing insert. In order to test our hypothesis, we designed a study to compare the translation of the talus in TARs performed with an unconstrained, mobile-bearing implant (designated the "Mobile ankle") and those performed with a semi-constrained, fixed-bearing implant (designated the "Fixed ankle").
Methods: The study included 71 consecutive patients (71 ankles) who underwent TAR with the Mobile ankle and 24 consecutive patients (24 ankles) who received the Fixed ankle from May 2011 to December 2014. Patients were assessed clinically and radiologically preoperatively (T0), at 6 months (T2) and 12 months (T3) post-surgery. There was also a radiological assessment at 2 months post-surgery (T1).
Results: The comparison of the T-T ratio between the two implant groups and over time indicated an interaction between time and group, therefore the changes of the T-T ratio over time were affected by the implant type factor (P<0.001). The changes of the postoperative T-T ratio over time were not significant in the Fixed ankle group (35.7±6.7% at T1, T2, and T3; P=1.0 for each pairwise comparison). In the Mobile ankle group, the T-T ratio at 2 months (34.4±5.5%) was significantly different to the T-T ratio at 6 months (37.0±5.8%; P<0.001; i.e. there was a significant posterior translation of the talus). The AOFAS score increased from preop to 12 months post-surgery in both the Mobile ankle (72.7±12.8 at 12 months; P<0.001) and the Fixed ankle (85.0±9.7 at 12 months; P<0.001).
Conclusion: The significant posterior translation of the talus from 2 to 6 months documented only in the Mobile ankle group may have been associated with the presence of the mobile bearing interface.
Keywords: Fixed bearing; Mobile bearing; Osteoarthritis; Posterior translation; Talus; Tibiotalar translation; Total ankle replacement.
Copyright © 2016 European Foot and Ankle Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.