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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 97-B, Issue 9 | Pages 1242 - 1249
1 Sep 2015
Hintermann B Wagener J Knupp M Schweizer C J. Schaefer D

Large osteochondral lesions (OCLs) of the shoulder of the talus cannot always be treated by traditional osteochondral autograft techniques because of their size, articular geometry and loss of an articular buttress. We hypothesised that they could be treated by transplantation of a vascularised corticoperiosteal graft from the ipsilateral medial femoral condyle.

Between 2004 and 2011, we carried out a prospective study of a consecutive series of 14 patients (five women, nine men; mean age 34.8 years, 20 to 54) who were treated for an OCL with a vascularised bone graft. Clinical outcome was assessed using a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) hindfoot score. Radiological follow-up used plain radiographs and CT scans to assess graft incorporation and joint deterioration.

At a mean follow-up of 4.1 years (2 to 7), the mean VAS for pain had decreased from 5.8 (5 to 8) to 1.8 (0 to 4) (p = 0.001) and the mean AOFAS hindfoot score had increased from 65 (41 to 70) to 81 (54 to 92) (p = 0.003). Radiologically, the talar contour had been successfully reconstructed with stable incorporation of the vascularised corticoperiosteal graft in all patients. Joint degeneration was only seen in one ankle.

Treatment of a large OCL of the shoulder of the talus with a vascularised corticoperiosteal graft taken from the medial condyle of the femur was found to be a safe, reliable method of restoring the contour of the talus in the early to mid-term.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:1242–9.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 97-B, Issue 5 | Pages 668 - 674
1 May 2015
Röhm J Zwicky L Horn Lang T Salentiny Y Hintermann B Knupp M

Talonavicular and subtalar joint fusion through a medial incision (modified triple arthrodesis) has become an increasingly popular technique for treating symptomatic flatfoot deformity caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

The purpose of this study was to look at its clinical and radiological mid- to long-term outcomes, including the rates of recurrent flatfoot deformity, nonunion and avascular necrosis of the dome of the talus.

A total of 84 patients (96 feet) with a symptomatic rigid flatfoot deformity caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction were treated using a modified triple arthrodesis. The mean age of the patients was 66 years (35 to 85) and the mean follow-up was 4.7 years (1 to 8.3). Both clinical and radiological outcomes were analysed retrospectively.

In 86 of the 95 feet (90.5%) for which radiographs were available, there was no loss of correction at final follow-up. In all, 14 feet (14.7%) needed secondary surgery, six for nonunion, two for avascular necrosis, five for progression of the flatfoot deformity and tibiotalar arthritis and one because of symptomatic overcorrection. The mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Hindfoot score (AOFAS score) at final follow-up was 67 (between 16 and 100) and the mean visual analogue score for pain 2.4 points (between 0 and 10).

In conclusion, modified triple arthrodesis provides reliable correction of deformity and a good clinical outcome at mid- to long-term follow-up, with nonunion as the most frequent complication. Avascular necrosis of the talus is a rare but serious complication of this technique.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:668–74.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 96-B, Issue 6 | Pages 772 - 777
1 Jun 2014
Kessler B Knupp M Graber P Zwicky L Hintermann B Zimmerli W Sendi P

The treatment of peri-prosthetic joint infection (PJI) of the ankle is not standardised. It is not clear whether an algorithm developed for hip and knee PJI can be used in the management of PJI of the ankle. We evaluated the outcome, at two or more years post-operatively, in 34 patients with PJI of the ankle, identified from a cohort of 511 patients who had undergone total ankle replacement. Their median age was 62.1 years (53.3 to 68.2), and 20 patients were women. Infection was exogenous in 28 (82.4%) and haematogenous in six (17.6%); 19 (55.9%) were acute infections and 15 (44.1%) chronic. Staphylococci were the cause of 24 infections (70.6%). Surgery with retention of one or both components was undertaken in 21 patients (61.8%), both components were replaced in ten (29.4%), and arthrodesis was undertaken in three (8.8%). An infection-free outcome with satisfactory function of the ankle was obtained in 23 patients (67.6%). The best rate of cure followed the exchange of both components (9/10, 90%). In the 21 patients in whom one or both components were retained, four had a relapse of the same infecting organism and three had an infection with another organism. Hence the rate of cure was 66.7% (14 of 21). In these 21 patients, we compared the treatment given to an algorithm developed for the treatment of PJI of the knee and hip. In 17 (80.9%) patients, treatment was not according to the algorithm. Most (11 of 17) had only one criterion against retention of one or both components. In all, ten of 11 patients with severe soft-tissue compromise as a single criterion had a relapse-free survival. We propose that the treatment concept for PJI of the ankle requires adaptation of the grading of quality of the soft tissues.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:772–7.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 10 | Pages 1367 - 1372
1 Oct 2011
Hintermann B Barg A Knupp M

We undertook a prospective study to analyse the outcome of 48 malunited pronation-external rotation fractures of the ankle in 48 patients (25 females and 23 males) with a mean age of 45 years (21 to 69), treated by realignment osteotomies. The interval between the injury and reconstruction was a mean of 20.2 months (3 to 98).

In all patients, valgus malalignment of the distal tibia and malunion of the fibula were corrected. In some patients, additional osteotomies were performed. Patients were reviewed regularly, and the mean follow-up was 7.1 years (2 to 15).

Good or excellent results were obtained in 42 patients (87.5%) with the benefit being maintained over time. Congruent ankles without a tilted talus (Takakura stage 0 and 1) were obtained in all but five cases. One patient required total ankle replacement.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 9 | Pages 1232 - 1239
1 Sep 2011
Stufkens SA van Bergen CJ Blankevoort L van Dijk CN Hintermann B Knupp M

It has been suggested that a supramalleolar osteotomy can return the load distribution in the ankle joint to normal. However, due to the lack of biomechanical data, this supposition remains empirical. The purpose of this biomechanical study was to determine the effect of simulated supramalleolar varus and valgus alignment on the tibiotalar joint pressure, in order to investigate its relationship to the development of osteoarthritis. We also wished to establish the rationale behind corrective osteotomy of the distal tibia.

We studied 17 cadaveric lower legs and quantified the changes in pressure and force transfer across the tibiotalar joint for various degrees of varus and valgus deformity in the supramalleolar area. We assumed that a supramalleolar osteotomy which created a varus deformity of the ankle would result in medial overload of the tibiotalar joint. Similarly, we thought that creating a supramalleolar valgus deformity would cause a shift in contact towards the lateral side of the tibiotalar joint. The opposite was observed. The restricting role of the fibula was revealed by carrying out an osteotomy directly above the syndesmosis. In end-stage ankle osteoarthritis with either a valgus or varus deformity, the role of the fibula should be appreciated and its effect addressed where appropriate.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 92-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1659 - 1663
1 Dec 2010
Barg A Knupp M Hintermann B

The aim of this study was to compare the outcome of bilateral sequential total ankle replacement (TAR) with that of unilateral TAR. We reviewed 23 patients who had undergone sequential bilateral TAR under a single anaesthetic and 46 matched patients with a unilateral TAR. There were no significant pre-operative differences between the two groups in terms of age, gender, body mass index, American Society of Anaesthesiologists classification and aetiology of the osteoarthritis of the ankle. Clinical and radiological follow-up was carried out at four months, one and two years.

After four months, patients with simultaneous bilateral TAR reported a significantly higher mean pain score than those with a unilateral TAR. The mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot score and short-form 36 physical component summary score were better in the unilateral group. However, this difference disappeared at the one-and two-year follow-ups.

Bilateral sequential TAR under one anaesthetic can be offered to patients with bilateral severe ankle osteoarthritis. However, they should be informed of the long recovery period.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 92-B, Issue 11 | Pages 1540 - 1547
1 Nov 2010
Kim BS Knupp M Zwicky L Lee JW Hintermann B

We report the clinical and radiological outcome of total ankle replacement performed in conjunction with hindfoot fusion or in isolation. Between May 2003 and June 2008, 60 ankles were treated with total ankle replacement with either subtalar or triple fusion, and the results were compared with a control group of 288 ankles treated with total ankle replacement alone.

After the mean follow-up of 39.5 months (12 to 73), the ankles with hindfoot fusion showed significant improvement in the mean visual analogue score for pain (p < 0.001), the mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score (p < 0.001), and the mean of a modified version of this score (p < 0.001). The mean visual analogue pain score (p = 0.304) and mean modified American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score (p = 0.119) were not significantly different between the hindfoot fusion and the control groups. However, the hindfoot fusion group had a significantly lower mean range of movement (p = 0.009) and a higher rate of posterior focal osteolysis (p = 0.04). Both groups showed various complications (p = 0.131) and failure occurring at a similar rate (p = 0.685).

Subtalar or triple fusion is feasible and has minimal adverse effects on ankles treated with total ankle replacement up to midterm follow-up. The clinical outcome of total ankle replacement when combined with hindfoot fusion is comparable to that of ankle replacement alone. Thus, hindfoot fusion should be performed in conjunction with total ankle replacement when indicated.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 91-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1607 - 1611
1 Dec 2009
Stufkens SAS Knupp M Lampert C van Dijk CN Hintermann B

We have compared the results at a mean follow-up of 13 years (11 to 14) of two groups of supination-external rotation type-4 fractures of the ankle, in one of which there was a fracture of the medial malleolus and in the other the medial deltoid ligament had been partially or completely ruptured.

Of 66 patients treated operatively between 1993 and 1997, 36 were available for follow-up. Arthroscopy had been performed in all patients pre-operatively to assess the extent of the intra-articular lesions. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hind-foot score was used for clinical evaluation and showed a significant difference in both the total and the functional scores (p < 0.05), but not in those for pain or alignment, in favour of the group with a damaged deltoid ligament (p < 0.05). The only significant difference between the groups on the short-form 36 quality-of-life score was for bodily pain, again in favour of the group with a damaged deltoid ligament. There was no significant difference between the groups in the subjective visual analogue scores or in the modified Kannus radiological score.

Arthroscopically, there was a significant difference with an increased risk of loose bodies in the group with an intact deltoid ligament (p < 0.005), although there was no significant increased risk of deep cartilage lesions in the two groups.

At a mean follow-up of 13 years after operative treatment of a supination-external rotation type-4 ankle fracture patients with partial or complete rupture of the medial deltoid ligament tended to have a better result than those with a medial malleolar fracture.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 91-B, Issue 5 | Pages 612 - 615
1 May 2009
Knupp M Schuh R Stufkens SAS Bolliger L Hintermann B

We describe a retrospective review of the clinical and radiological parameters of 32 feet in 30 patients (10 men and 20 women) who underwent correction for malalignment of the hindfoot with a modified double arthrodesis through a medial approach. The mean follow-up was 21 months (13 to 37). Fusion was achieved in all feet at a mean of 13 weeks (6 to 30). Apart from the calcaneal pitch angle, all angular measurements improved significantly after surgery. Primary wound healing occurred without complications.

The isolated medial approach to the subtalar and talonavicular joints allows good visualisation which facilitated the reduction and positioning of the joints. It was also associated with fewer problems with wound healing than the standard lateral approach.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 87-B, Issue 2 | Pages 201 - 204
1 Feb 2005
Schaeren S Bischoff-Ferrari HA Knupp M Dick W Huber JF Theiler R

We validated the North American Spine Society (NASS) outcome-assessment instrument for the lumbar spine in a computerised touch-screen format and assessed patients’ acceptance, taking into account previous computer experience, age and gender.

Fifty consecutive patients with symptomatic and radiologically-proven degenerative disease of the lumbar spine completed both the hard copy (paper) and the computerised versions of the NASS questionnaire. Statistical analysis showed high agreement between the paper and the touch-screen computer format for both subscales (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.94, 95% confidence interval (0.90 to 0.97)) independent of computer experience, age and gender. In total, 55% of patients stated that the computer format was easier to use and 66% preferred it to the paper version (p < 0.0001 among subjects expressing a preference). Our data indicate that the touch-screen format is comparable to the paper form. It may improve follow-up in clinical practice and research by meeting patients’ preferences and minimising administrative work.