Orthopedic Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Background: There is still controversy regarding the best technique for ankle arthrodesis to acheive stable rigid fixation along with reconstructing a functional plantigrade foot. Moreover, existing techniques have complictions related to stability, soft tissue covering, fusion rate, and exposure. Methods: With the anterior approach exactly on the tibialis anterior sheath, the joint was exposed and previous hardware, if any, was removed and with the safe direct approach, the ankle, hindfoot, and indirectly the subtalar joints were accessed. Then fresh cancellous bone was obtained and complete denudation was preformed. Lastly, a narrow 4.5 millimeter plate was carefully placed on what was determined to be the best final position.In this prospective study, 12 patients with severe ankle pain and arthritis enrolled from February 2010 to January 2012. Eight of them had posttraumatic arthritis and deformity with hardware, two had rheumatoid arthritis, one had poliomyelitis with severe deformity of the foot and knee, and another had chronic ulcerative ynovitis of the ankle joint. The patients were assessed clinically and radiographically for an average of two years (range: 13 months to 4 years) for functional recovery, range of motion, stability of the ankle, and imaging evidence of union. Results: Ankle deformities and pain in all 12 cases were corrected. With a short healing time and rapid recovery period, after six weeks all of the patients could walk independently. Also, scores of the Manchester–Oxford Foot Questionnaire (MOXFQ) improved significantly from 69 preoperatively to 33 postoperatively). Conclusions: Anterior ankle arthrodesis with molded plating can be an easy and safe way to manage deformities and it has excellent fusion rate and sufficient rigid fixation.
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