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Foot & Ankle

Arthrodesis after failed total ankle replacement

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We present a series of 16 patients treated between 1993 and 2006 who had a failed total ankle replacement converted to an arthrodesis using bone grafting with internal fixation. We used tricortical autograft from the iliac crest to preserve the height of the ankle, the malleoli and the subtalar joint. A successful arthrodesis was achieved at a mean of three months (1.5 to 4.5) in all patients except one, with rheumatoid arthritis and severe bone loss, who developed a nonunion and required further fixation with an intramedullary nail at one year after surgery, before obtaining satisfactory fusion. The post-operative American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score improved to a mean of 70 (41 to 87) with good patient satisfaction. From this series and an extensive review of the literature we have found that rates of fusion after failed total ankle replacement in patients with degenerative arthritis are high. We recommend our method of arthrodesis in this group of patients. A higher rate of nonunion is associated with rheumatoid arthritis which should be treated differently.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr P. Culpan; e-mail: paulculpan@doctors.net.uk

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