Treatment of malunion and nonunion at the site of an ankle fusion with the Ilizarov apparatus
ABSTRACT Malunion and nonunion of an ankle fusion site are associated with pain, osteomyelitis, limb-length discrepancy, and deformity. The Ilizarov reconstruction has been used to treat these challenging problems.
We reviewed the results in twenty-one ankles that had undergone a revision of a failed fusion, with simultaneous treatment of coexisting pathologic conditions, with use of the Ilizarov technique. Eight patients had undergone ankle fusion only, eleven had undergone ankle and subtalar fusion, and two had undergone pantalar fusion. Eighteen patients with an average limb-length discrepancy of 4 cm underwent limb lengthening simultaneously with the revision surgery. The average patient age was forty years. Indications for treatment were malunion (eleven patients), aseptic nonunion (eight patients), and infected nonunion (two patients). Clinical, subjective, objective, gait, and radiographic analyses were performed after an average duration of follow-up of 83.4 months.
Solid union was achieved in all ankles. The functional result was excellent for fifteen patients, good for three, fair for two, and poor for one. The bone result was excellent for ten ankles, good for nine, fair for one, and poor for one. All eighteen patients who underwent gait analysis had a heel-to-toe progression gait, and twelve achieved normal walking velocity with their shoes on. A plantigrade foot was achieved in each case, and only two patients had >5 degrees of residual deformity. During the Ilizarov treatment, forty-one minor complications (treated conservatively) and twenty major complications (treated surgically) occurred. After removal of the circular frame, seven other complications, which required four additional operations, occurred.
In patients with a failed ankle fusion, infection, limb-length discrepancy, and foot deformity can be addressed simultaneously with use of the Ilizarov apparatus to achieve a solid union and a plantigrade foot, usually with a clinically satisfactory result.
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ABSTRACT: Background:The high rates of wound failure, persisting infection, and nonunion of the tibiocalcaneal arthrodesis are the main reasons why the Pirogoff ankle disarticulation is rarely used for limb salvage. Use of the Ilizarov external frame has increased our fusion rate. The purpose of this study was to review our experience with the use of the Ilizarov external frame as a technique for Pirogoff amputations with ankle disarticulation and tibiocalcaneal fusion.Methods:Twenty-four patients (median age, 57.4 years; range, 29-76 years) underwent a Pirogoff amputation with Ilizarov external frame use between January 2004 and June 2011. The most common indications were gangrene with uncontrollable infection due to Charcot arthropathy or chronic osteomyelitis. Four patients had sustained crush injuries of the foot. All patients were clinically and radiographically followed for a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, 15 patients were evaluated using the Taniguchi rating scale for Pirogoff amputations after a mean follow-up of 44.9 months (range, 12-86 months).Results:In 21 patients (87.5%), a well-healed Pirogoff stump was achieved after a mean external fixation time of 18.1 weeks (range, 12.7-26.6 weeks). Impaired vascular perfusion was found to be the limiting factor for successful wound healing and an overall successful Pirogoff amputation. According to the Taniguchi scale, 67% of the patients achieved good or excellent functional results. Fair (27%) and poor (6%) results were observed only in the diabetic patients.Conclusion:Using the Ilizarov external frame allowed safe fixation and a high success rate, even in neuropathic feet. The frame allowed for immediate weight-bearing and soft tissue control; however, frame-associated complications were common and could result in revision surgery.Level of Evidence: Level IV, case series.Foot & Ankle International 02/2013; 34(6). DOI:10.1177/1071100713475612 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Avascular necrosis (AVN) or persistent nonunion occurs in situations of poor vascular supply. Some specific situations that plague the foot and ankle surgeon are talus nonunion, talus AVN, navicular AVN, and failed ankle arthrodesis with bone loss. The medial femoral condyle (MFC) flap has emerged as a popular source of vascularized corticocancelous bone. We present a series of cases demonstrating the versatility of the MFC flap in complex foot and ankle pathology. A retrospective review was completed of all MFC flaps used in the foot and ankle over the past 5 years. Five patients were identified (average age 48). Surgical indications included talar AVN and ankle arthritis, talar nonunion, and navicular AVN. All patients had undergone conventional bone grafting techniques, which failed, prior to being treated with a MFC free flap; this series of patients did not possess significant medical comorbidities. Fixation techniques included compression screw fixation, plate osteosynthesis, or fine wire external fixation. The average follow-up was 20 months (range 8 to 40 months). There was a 100% flap success rate with no returns to the operating room for thrombosis. The volume of the bone flaps was 5.6 cm(3) (range 1 cm(3) to 12 cm(3)). The average follow-up time was 20 months (range 8 to 40 months). All cases resulted in union, and full weight bearing status was achieved at a mean of 23.8 weeks (range 10 to 52 weeks) postoperatively. Vascularized bone transfer in the form of the MFC free flap was a valuable method for foot and ankle reconstruction. The MFC flap provided an alternative for those defects that were smaller then 3 cm in length. In our experience, for small bone defects requiring vascularized bone, the MFC flap is currently the ideal donor location supplanting the iliac crest. Level IV, retrospective case series.Foot & Ankle International 06/2013; 34(10). DOI:10.1177/1071100713491077 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Achieving arthrodesis of the ankle can be difficult in the presence of infection, deformity, poor soft tissues and bone loss. We present a series of 48 patients with complex ankle pathology, treated with the Ilizarov technique. Infection was present in 30 patients and 30 had significant deformity before surgery. Outcome was assessed clinically and with patient-reported outcome measures (Modified American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (MAOFAS) scale and the Short-Form (SF-36)). Arthrodesis was achieved in 40 patients with the Ilizarov technique alone and in six further patients with additional surgery. Infection was eradicated in all patients at a mean follow-up of 46.6 months (13 to 162). Successful arthrodesis was less likely in those with comorbidities and in tibiocalcaneal fusion compared with tibiotalar fusion. These patients had poor general health scores compared with the normal population before surgery. The mean MAOFAS score improved significantly from 24.3 (0 to 90) pre-operatively to 56.2 (30 to 90) post-operatively, but there was only a modest improvement in general health; the mean SF-36 improved from 44.8 (19 to 66) to 50.1 (21 to 76). There was a major benefit in terms of pain relief. Arthrodesis using the Ilizarov technique is an effective treatment for complex ankle pathology, with good clinical outcomes and eradication of infection. However, even after successful arthrodesis general health scores remain limited. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:371-7.03/2013; 95-B(3):371-7. DOI:10.1302/0301-620X.95B3.29885