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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1991 Jul;(268):70-7.

Ankle arthrodesis with an anterior tension plate.

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Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


The incidence of complications associated with arthrodesis of the ankle has remained high, especially in wound complications and infections. A new method to achieve arthrodesis of the ankle that utilizes an anterior surgical approach and an anterior tension plate was assessed in 17 patients. This method transforms the potentially deforming force of the tendoachilles into a compressive and corrective force and facilitates realignment of the ankle in all planes. Also, dissection and subperiosteal elevation is minimized while soft tissue coverage of the hardware is maximized. Whereas the predominant preoperative diagnosis was posttraumatic degenerative joint disease, others included failed ankle arthroplasty, failed arthrodesis, and a fixed equinus deformity. A solid arthrodesis was achieved in 82% of the patients. Although complications occurred and two patients required reoperations, there were no problems with respect to wound healing or infection, which is a marked contrast to other series. This technique is recommended as a simple, safe, and effective method to achieve an arthrodesis of the ankle joint.

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