Surgical treatment of midfoot charcot neuroarthropathy review of literature and our results after superconstruct reconstruction of midfoot charcot neuroarthropathy

J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2021 Feb 11:17:59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jcot.2021.02.003. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Background: Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) of the midfoot was traditionally treated non-operatively with off-loading in a total contact cast (TCC). After introduction of the super construct concept, promising results were reported, however there is a need for further studies on this concept. Analysis of non-operative versus operative treatment is presented as well as our results from a consecutive series of 20 patients operated with the superconstruct concept.

Methods: Twenty patients were operated from July 2017 until June 2020. Mean age was 58 years (50-80), mean weight was 116 kg (68-156), giving a BMI of 31 (26-45). Preoperative patients off-loaded in a TCC until decreased swelling and skin temperature measurement or ulcer had healed, mean 16 weeks immobilization. Surgery was without tourniquet, using a standard medial and lateral incision. Mean follow up is 24 (5-40) months.

Results: Mean operation time was 227 (150-315) minutes. Medial column fusion was mandatory, in five cases as an isolated procedure, in 12 cases in combination with lateral column fusion and in three cases with a talocalcaneal fusion. Preoperative lateral Meary angle decreased from 23.5 to 9.6°, antero-posterior Meary angle decreased from 16.0 to 4.7°. Eight patients had postoperative incisional wound problems. Four patients had partial implant removal. All healed with a good clinical result. Two patients had an acute Charcot attack in the ankle joint during postoperative mobilization. One had a severe collapse of the talus resulting in a below knee amputation, giving an amputation rate of 5%. Radiographic examination at follow up, showed bone union of all patients. Nineteen patients are ambulated in orthopedic shoes at latest follow up, giving a 95% satisfactory result.

Conclusion: Superconstruct reconstruction of CN midfoot collapse is a safe procedure. There are incisional wound problems, recognition and fast treatment of these complications is important to achieve good results. There is a risk for overloading the ankle, initiating a new acute Charcot attack. Attention must be on this problem. The surgical technique is demanding and should be performed by experienced foot and ankle surgeons in a multidisciplinary team set up.

Keywords: Charcot; Charcot reconstruction; Medullary beaming; Midfoot; Neuroarthropathy; Superconstruct.