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Ankle Arthrodesis: Results after the Miniarthrotomy Technique

Foot Ankle Int. 1996 May;17(5):247-252
Paremain GD, Miller SD, Myerson MS


BACKGROUND: Of 34 ankle fusions (34 patients) performed at our institution between June 1992 and June 1993, 15 utilized a miniarthrotomy technique.
METHODS: This technique involves two 1.5-cm incisions, one medial and one anterolateral, through which the ankle joint cartilage and synovium are debrided. Subchondral bone resection is completed with a high-speed cutting tool, creating a “slurry” that is saved for local bone graft. The ankle is then appropriately positioned (5 degrees of valgus, 0 degree of dorsiflexion, and neutral rotation), cannulated screws are inserted, the position is checked fluoroscopically, and the wound is closed. The patient receives a short leg cast at 2 weeks and a walking cast at 3 to 5 weeks until there is radiographic and clinical evidence of solid arthrodesis.
RESULTS: In our 15 patients, follow-up ranged from 12 to 19 months after surgery and arthrodesis was radiographically evident at a mean of 6.0 weeks (range, 3-15 weeks). Complications were limited to a transient synovitis in 7/15 patients, which lasted approximately 3 weeks and was possibly related to the bone slurry.

CONCLUSION: Although ankle joints with marked malalignment require a more extensive open arthrodesis procedure, this miniarthrotomy technique offers decreased soft-tissue insult, decreased bone stripping, easy application, and rapid healing time for the treatment of severe degenerative changes of the ankle with minimal deformity.

Copyright © 1996 (Foot Ankle Int. May;17(5):247-252) by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, Inc., originally published in Foot & Ankle International, and reproduced here with permission.

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