Of 34 ankle fusions (34 patients) performed at our institution between June 1992 and June 1993, 15 utilized a miniarthrotomy technique. This technique involves two 1.5-cm incisions, one medial and one anterolateral, through which the ankle joint cartilage and synovium are debrided. Subchondral bone resection is completed with a high-speed cutting tool, creating a 'slurry' that is saved for local bone graft. The ankle is then appropriately positioned (5° of valgus, 0° of dorsiflexion, and neutral rotation), cannulated screws are inserted, the position is checked fluoroscopically, and the wound is closed. The patient receives a short leg cast at 2 weeks and a walking cast at 3 to 5 weeks until there is radiographic and clinical evidence of solid arthrodesis. In our 15 patients, follow-up ranged from 12 to 19 months after surgery and arthrodesis was radiographically evident at a mean of 6.0 weeks (range, 3-15 weeks). Complications were limited to a transient synovitis in 7/15 patients, which lasted approximately 3 weeks and was possibly related to the bone slurry. Although ankle joints with marked malalignment require a more extensive open arthrodesis procedure, this miniarthrotomy technique offers decreased soft- tissue insult, decreased bone stripping, easy application, and rapid healing time for the treatment of severe degenerative changes of the ankle with minimal deformity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine