Ankle Arthrodesis: A Retrospective Analysis Comparing Single Column, Locked Anterior Plating to Crossed Lag Screw Technique

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Ankle arthrodesis is performed to eliminate pain due to end-stage osteoarthritis, regardless of etiology. This procedure remains the reference standard treatment for end-stage ankle arthritis, despite recent advancements in total ankle replacement. The objective of the present study was to retrospectively evaluate the radiographic and clinical fusion rates and time to bony fusion for patients who underwent ankle arthrodesis using an anterior approach with a single column locked plate construct versus crossed lag screws. We identified 358 patients who had undergone ankle arthrodesis from January 2003 to June 2013. Of the 358 patients, 83 (23.2%) met the inclusion criteria for the present study. Of the 83 included patients, 47 received locked anterior (or anterolateral) plate fixation, and 36 received crossed lag screw constructs. The overall nonunion rate was 6.0% (n = 5), with 1 nonunion in the anterior plate group (2.1%) and 4 nonunions in the crossed lag screw group (11.1%; p = .217). No differences were identified between the 2 groups for normal talocrural angle [χ2 (1) = 0.527; p = .468], normal tibial axis/talar ratio [χ2 (1) = 0.004; p = .952], and lateral dorsiflexion angle (p = .565). Based on our findings in similar demographic groups, ankle arthrodesis using locked anterior plate fixation is a safe technique with similar complication rates and radiographic outcomes to those of crossed lag screws.

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