Prospective Analysis of Surgical Bone Margins After Partial Foot Amputation in Diabetic Patients Admitted With Moderate to Severe Foot Infections

Foot Ankle Spec. 2019 Apr;12(2):131-137. doi: 10.1177/1938640018770285. Epub 2018 Apr 12.


Background: Osteomyelitis is common in diabetic foot infections and medical management can lead to poor outcomes. Surgical management involves sending histopathologic and microbiologic specimens which guides future intervention. We examined the effect of obtainment of surgical margins in patients undergoing forefoot amputations to identify patient characteristics associated with outcomes. Secondary aims included evaluating interobserver reliability of histopathologic data at both the distal-to and proximal-to surgical bone margin.

Methods: Data were prospectively collected on 72 individuals and was pooled for analysis. Standardized method to retrieve intraoperative bone margins was established. A univariate analysis was performed. Negative outcomes, including major lower extremity amputation, wound dehiscence, reulceration, reamputation, or death were recorded.

Results: Viable proximal margins were obtained in 63 out of 72 cases (87.5%). Strong interobserver reliability of histopathology was recorded. Univariate analysis demonstrated preoperative platelets, albumin, probe-to-bone testing, absolute toe pressures, smaller wound surface area were associated with obtaining viable margins. Residual osteomyelitis resulted in readmission 2.6 times more often and more postoperative complications.

Conclusions: Certain patients were significantly different in the viable margin group versus dirty margin group. High interobserver reliability was demonstrated. Obtainment of viable margins resulted in reduced rates of readmission and negative outcomes.

Levels of evidence: Prognostic, Level I: Prospective.

Keywords: amputation; diabetes; diabetic foot; forefoot; limb salvage; osteomyelitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation, Surgical / methods*
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery*
  • Female
  • Foot / surgery*
  • Foot Bones / surgery*
  • Foot Diseases / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Male
  • Margins of Excision*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteomyelitis / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index