Ankle Salvage Surgery with Autologous Circular Pillar Fibula Augmentation and Intramedullary Hindfoot Nail

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Tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis with an intramedullary hindfoot nail is an established procedure for fusion of the ankle and subtalar joints. In cases involving ankle bone loss, such as in failed total ankle replacement, it can be difficult to salvage with sufficient bone restoration stability and a physiologic leg length and avoiding below the knee amputation. In addition to the alternatives of using a structural allograft or metal bone substitution, we describe the use of autologous ipsilateral circular pillar fibula augmentation in tibiotalocalcaneal retrograde nail arthrodesis combined with a ventral (anterior) plate in a prospective series of 6 consecutive cases with a mean follow-up duration of 26 ± 9.95 (range 12 to 34) months. The 6 patients (3 female and 3 male), with a mean age of 55 ± 13.89 (range 38 to 73) years were treated with revision surgery of the ankle (1 after talectomy, 5 [83.33%] after failed ankle replacement). The visual analog scale for pain and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot score were used to assess functional outcome, and radiographs and computed tomography scans were used to determine the presence of fusion. All patients improved clinically from pre- to postoperatively in regard to the mean pain visual analog scale score (from 7.5 to 2.0) and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot score (from 29 to 65 points, of an 86-point maximum for fused joints). Radiologically, no loss in the reduction or misalignment of the hindfoot was detected, and all cases fused solid. One patient (16.67%) required hardware removal. The fixation construct provided good clinical and radiologic outcomes, and we recommend it as an alternative to structural allografts or metallic bone grafts for revision ankle surgery with severe bone loss.

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