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J Foot Ankle Surg. 2004 Mar-Apr;43(2):82-6.

Tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis with retrograde intramedullary nailing.

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Division of Foot and Ankle Surgery, The Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA.


Nineteen patients (20 feet) with severe hindfoot and ankle deformity underwent tibiotalocalcaneal fusion with a retrograde locked intramedullary nail as a limb-salvage procedure. The purpose of this study was to compare the complication rates of this procedure in diabetic versus nondiabetic patients. There were 8 men and 11 women with preoperative diagnoses including Charcot neuroarthropathy, primary osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, equinocavovarus, posttraumatic osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis, and ankle malunion. Ten of 20 procedures were performed in patients with diabetes. The average patient age was 56 years, and the average postoperative follow-up was 19.8 months. Nineteen of 20 ankles (95%) achieved successful fusion with an average time of 4.1 months. Four patients (21%) required either a fracture brace or an ankle foot orthosis at final follow-up. Five patients (25%) had major complications and 11 patients had minor complications. Major complications included osteomyelitis (n = 2), Charcot arthropathy (n = 2), failure of fixation (n =1), soft-tissue necrosis (n = 1), cardiac arrest (n = 1), cerebral vascular accident (n = 1), and fatal pulmonary embolus (n = 1). All patients with major complications were diabetic, and 14 of 20 combined major and minor complications occurred in patients with diabetes. The complication rate was found to be high in diabetic patients with end-stage deformity undergoing a limb salvage

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