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Orthopade. 2008 Feb;37(2):143-52. doi: 10.1007/s00132-008-1196-6.

[Lower limb salvage using Pirogoff ankle arthrodesis : minimally invasive and effective fixation with the Ilizarov external ring fixator].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Unfall- und Wiederherstellungschirurgie, Klinikum Heidenheim, Schlosshausstrasse 100, 89522, Heidenheim, Deutschland.



Irreversible destruction of the forefoot and midfoot generally leads to amputation. So-called limited surgical procedures such as transmetatarsal or Chopart/Syme amputations often result in poor clinical outcomes. Prostheses for these stumps are difficult to fit, a fact that reduces mobility for these patients, so reamputations are not rare. The very old method of tibiocalcaneal arthrodesis introduced by Pirogoff in 1854 can be an interesting surgical alternative in these cases, and the use of an Ilizarov external ring fixator may solve the stabilisation problem.


From 1 January 1990 to 1 January 2007, six patients underwent surgery for tibiocalcaneal Pirogoff arthrodesis with an external Ilizarov ring fixator.


All patients could be evaluated postoperatively, with a medium follow-up time of 45.8 months. Outcome was measured with a modified ankle disarticulation score. In four cases, the outcome was good or excellent. Two cases (33%) with initially successful arthrodeses required transtibial reamputations because of secondary infection. All other cases healed very well. There was no delayed union or nonunion of the arthrodeses in our series.


Tibiocalcaneal Pirogoff arthrodesis can be a surgical alternative in forefoot and midfoot destructions to achieve a well-covered, comfortable stump with a minimum of leg-length shortening that is easy to fit with a prosthesis and even allows some limited barefoot mobility. Bony fixation and healing of the arthrodesis are the challenges, but these difficulties can be avoided by using an external ring fixator system. Despite a failure rate of up to one-third, this method can be an effective solution due to the good functional outcome.

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