Arthroscopic Synovectomy, Irrigation, and Debridement for Treatment of Septic Ankle Arthrosis: A Systematic Review and Case Series

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Septic arthrosis of the ankle is a rare, often devastating, infection, with a high potential for morbidity and mortality. Delay in treatment can lead to cartilage erosion, painful synovitis, and osteomyelitis. Septic ankle arthrosis deserves prompt recognition and intervention. However, quality, sound, protocol-directed arthroscopic treatment of septic ankle arthrosis of the ankle has not yet been reported. We performed a systematic review of the electronic databases and other relevant peer-reviewed sources to determine the outcomes and treatment protocols associated with septic ankle arthrosis treated with arthroscopic synovectomy, irrigation, and debridement. Nine studies, involving a total of 15 ankles, met our inclusion criteria. In addition, we present the short-term outcomes of a protocol-driven arthroscopic synovial biopsy, deep culture procurement, synovectomy, irrigation, and debridement approach for 8 ankles (8 patients). To our knowledge, this would be the largest individual case series specific to arthroscopic treatment of septic ankle arthrosis. The most common infectious organism reported in the systematic review and in our case series was methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. Arthroscopic synovectomy, irrigation, and debridement represents an acceptable treatment method for septic ankle arthrosis and demonstrated outcomes similar to the more traditional open approach, with fewer complications. Additional, appropriately weighted, randomized controlled studies with long-term follow-up are warranted.

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