Tibiotalocalcaneal Arthrodesis With a Curved, Interlocking, Intramedullary Nail

Avon Orthopaedic Centre, Orthopaedics, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, Avon BS10 5NB, United Kingdom.
Foot & Ankle International (Impact Factor: 1.51). 12/2010; 31(12):1085-92. DOI: 10.3113/FAI.2010.1085
Source: PubMed


Tibiotalocalcaneal fusion with a straight rod has a risk of damaging the lateral plantar neurovascular structures and may interfere with maintaining normal heel valgus position.We report the results of a prospective study of tibiotalocalcaneal (TTC) arthrodesis with a short, anatomically curved interlocking, intramedullary nail.
Forty-five arthrodesis in 42 patients, performed between Jan 2003 and Oct 2008, were prospectively followed. The mean followup was 48 (range, 10 to 74) months. The main indications for the procedure were failed ankle arthrodesis with progressive subtalar arthritis, failed ankle arthroplasty and complex hindfoot deformity. The outcome was measured by a combination of pre and postoperative clinical examination, AOFAS hindfoot scores, SF-12 scores and radiological assessment.
Union rate was 89% (40/45). Eighty-two percent (37/45) reported improvement in pain and 73% (33/45) had improved foot function. Satisfactory hindfoot alignment was achieved in 84% (38/45). Postoperatively there was a mean improvement in the AOFAS score of 37. Complications included a below knee amputation for persistent deep infection, five nonunions, and three delayed unions. Four nails, six proximal and six distal locking screws were removed for various causes. Other complications included two perioperative fractures, four superficial wound infections and one case of lateral plantar nerve irritation.
With a short, anatomically curved intramedullary nail, we had a high rate of tibiotalocalcaneal fusion with minimal plantar neurovascular complications. We believe a short, curved intramedullary nail, with its more lateral entry point, helped maintain hindfoot alignment.

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    ABSTRACT: Tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis for the treatment of complex foot and ankle deformities are extremely challenging cases. Technological advances in intramedullary nail fixation have improved the biomechanical properties of available fixation constructs in recent years. Nails designed specifically to accommodate hindfoot anatomy, advancement in the understanding of optimal screw orientation, fixed angle technology, the availability of spiral blade screws, and features designed to achieve compression across the arthrodesis site have provided the foot and ankle surgeon with a greater armamentarium for performing tibiotalocalneal arthrodesis. Although advances may help to improve clinical results, small sample sizes and the low-level evidence of study designs limit the evaluation of how these advances affect clinical outcomes.
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