Outcomes of Ankle Arthrodesis Conversion to Total Ankle Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2021 Mar-Apr;60(2):362-367. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2020.06.025. Epub 2020 Aug 14.


Ankle arthrodesis (AA) provides reliable pain relief, good patient satisfaction scores, and improved overall function. However, this procedure has been associated with numerous complications and sequelae, such as pseudoarthrosis, malunion, gait abnormalities, increased demand on surrounding joints, and a long period of convalescence. Conversion to total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) is a potential option in the management of these complex and challenging situations. The purpose of this study is to investigate the outcomes of AA conversion to TAA. A systematic review of electronic databases was performed. Six studies involving 172 ankles met inclusion criteria. The weighted mean preoperative Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score at the time of TAA conversion was 7.8 and the weighted mean postoperative VAS score at the time of final follow-up was 2.5. The weighted mean preoperative AOFAS score at the time of TAA conversion was 32 and the weighted mean postoperative AOFAS score at the time of final follow-up was 72.4. The rate of salvage tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis was 2.3% and rate of transtibial amputation was also 2.3% after attempted conversion from initial AA to TAA. Conversion of AA to TAA appears to be a viable option to improve patient outcomes and prevent extensive hindfoot arthrodesis and transtibial amputation. More prospective studies with consistent reporting of outcomes, complications, and revision rates with long-term follow-up are needed.

Keywords: arthritis; fusion; replacement; takedown; tibiotalar.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Ankle Joint / surgery
  • Ankle*
  • Arthrodesis
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Ankle* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome