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Joint Preservation of the Osteoarthritic Ankle Using Distraction Arthroplasty

Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Apr;30(4):318-325 Erratum in: Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Jun;30(6):vi


Tellisi N, Fragomen AT, Kleinman D, O'Malley MJ, Rozbruch SR




BACKGROUND: In recent years ankle distraction arthroplasty has gained popularity in the treatment of ankle arthritis as a means of both maintaining range of motion and avoiding fusion. We present a retrospective review of 25 patients who have undergone ankle distraction from 1999 to 2006. 

METHODS: The mean age was 43 years; 16 were male, and 7 were female. Followup was 30 months after frame removal (range, 12 to 60 months). We were able to obtain followup on 23 of 25 patients. Adjuvant procedures were performed in some cases including Achilles tendon lengthening (5), ankle arthroscopy (4), open arthrotomy (1), and supramalleolar tibial and distal fibular osteotomy to correct distal tibial deformity (6). 

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients (91%) reported improved pain with those furthest post-op experiencing the best results. The average preoperative AOFAS score was 55 (range, 29 to 82), and the average postoperative score was 74 (range, 47 to 96). The difference between pre- and postoperative scores was significant (p = 0.005). SF-36 scores showed modest improvement in all components. Only two of the patients in the study underwent fusion after ankle distraction. Total ankle motion was maintained in all patients with improvement in the functional arc of motion in five patients who started with mild equinus contractures. 

CONCLUSION: We feel that ankle distraction offers a promising solution for many people with ankle arthritis.

Copyright © 2010 (or appropriate copyright date as noted in the article) by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, Inc., originally published in Foot & Ankle International, and reproduced here with permission.