Tag Archive | total ankle arthroplasty

Smoking, Depression Adversely Affect Outcomes after TAA

After some relatively poor results in the 1980s, there was a “reboot” with total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) in the late 1990s to improve outcomes so that TAA would provide a reliable treatment for patients with end-stage ankle arthritis. Advances in the understanding of the biomechanical requirements for ankle prostheses and which patients might benefit from them the most—plus the realization  that TAA is a technically demanding surgical procedure that requires advanced education—have vastly improved the outcomes of these procedures. In fact, TAA has become reliable enough that we can now begin to tease out the patient variables that seem to affect outcomes.

In the February 6, 2019 issue of The Journal, Cunningham et al. use an extensive clinical TAA registry to identify patient characteristics that impact TAA outcomes. The good news is that, 30-plus years after the inauspicious outcomes of first-generation TAA, overall pain and function significantly improved among the patients in this study. However, current smoking was associated with poorer patient outcomes at the 5-year follow-up, as it seems to be with the vast majority of orthopaedic procedures. Also, at a mean 1- to 2-year follow-up,  a previous surgical procedure on the ankle was associated with significantly smaller improvements in at least 1 patient-reported outcome. This makes sense because prior surgery leads to scarring and its attendant risk of infection and increased difficulty with exposure and the ideal placement of TAA components. Cunningham et al. also identified depression as being associated with worse TAA outcomes at all follow-up points, adding to our already ample body of evidence that patient psychological factors play a major role in orthopaedic surgical results.

Interestingly, these authors found that patients undergoing staged bilateral ankle arthroplasty did not do as well as those undergoing simultaneous bilateral TAAs. And somewhat surprisingly, the authors found obesity to be associated with better outcomes at the 5-year follow-up. This may be related to increased bone density and greater soft-tissue coverage, but this finding is still seemingly counterintuitive based on everything else we know about the negative associations between obesity and outcomes of other joint replacements.

As more surgeons and orthopaedic centers make use of TAA, it will be important for us to follow the lead of the total knee and total hip communities in providing large datasets to further clarify which factors—patient-related and surgical—lead to the best and worst patient outcomes. This study by Cunningham et al. provides a starting point upon which other research will hopefully build.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

Ankle Surgery: Who Should Do It?

The relationship between orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons and podiatric surgeons has been checkered. Many have advocated that the orthopaedic community should isolate itself from interaction with the podiatric community. Conversely, a smaller group of orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons have recommended sharing CME endeavors with podiatric surgeons, and combining clinical services with them. As long as individual states continue to legislate surgeon scope-of-practice matters (38 states currently allow podiatric surgeons to perform ankle surgery), it seems to me that shared learning, combined clinical services, and collaborative research make the most sense for advancing foot and ankle care for as many patients as possible. We should all be willing to work with our surgical colleagues to improve everyone’s decision making and skill.

In the January 16, 2019  issue of The Journal, Chan et al. probe an administrative database to evaluate several outcomes after total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) and ankle arthrodesis performed by both types of surgeon. Probably because many podiatrists self-limit their practices to forefoot surgery, podiatric surgeons provided the treatment for only 18% of the patients in both ankle-surgery groups. When podiatrists were the primary surgeon, the authors found increased lengths of stay for both procedures and increased hospital costs for arthrodesis patients. The authors did not investigate the reasons for these increases, but they should be investigated in the future. Chan et al. did find that, in general, podiatric surgeons operated on sicker patients and tended to work in smaller, non-teaching hospitals.

The authors also found an increasing percentage of these procedures being performed by podiatrists over the period from 2011 to 2016. This is likely related to multiple factors, including variable availability of orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons relative to podiatric surgeons in many communities, and an increased number of podiatry training programs that specialize in hindfoot surgery.

It seems to me that data like these from Chan et al. should be shared with both communities to foster discussions regarding how to optimize length of stay, costs, and patient outcomes across the board. The goal should always be to raise every surgeon’s level of care for the benefit of all patients.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

Linking Registry and Claims Data—Not as Boring as it Sounds

TAA for OBuzzIt is not often that The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery publishes an article about data-linkage efforts. To even raise the topic with most readers of The Journal would elicit a yawn and quick dismissal of the abstract without a second thought. With this fact duly noted, the possibility of linking health-system joint-replacement registries with Medicare claims data is a first step in a potentially game-changing approach to achieving the long-term clinical research our specialty needs.

In the June 20, 2018 issue of JBJS, Raman et al. detail their successful linkage of a total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) registry with Medicare data without the use of unique patient identifiers.  Among 280 TAA patients over the age of 65, 250 had their registry data linked with their Medicare record with exact matches for date of procedure, date of birth, and sex. Of the linked records, 214 (76.4%) had ≥3 years of postoperative claims data.

Why are these findings so important? The answer is follow-up. Every clinician and/or researcher who has attempted to follow patients beyond the first year after a procedure understands how difficult long-term follow-up is. We live in a mobile society in which informative posttreatment data is easily lost. The younger the patient group, the more difficult it usually is to locate patients as time passes. If patients are doing well, many stop coming to our offices, no matter how strongly we recommend annual follow-ups. Everyone is busy—including retirees—and most have better things to do than drive to their surgeon’s office or even complete a web-based questionnaire. Additionally, some patients care only about their own outcomes; they are not as focused as we are on contributing to the advancement of the profession and improving outcomes at the population level.

By linking patient data from  a local health-system registry to nationwide claims data, we can gain a better understanding of long-term patient progress. We can use the patient- and implant-specific data housed in the registry and essentially substitute the information from follow-up visits that did not take place within the registry system with the data contained within the Medicare system, which follows beneficiaries wherever they live.

The marriage of registry and claims data is not perfect, though, because patients who are still working probably have private insurance coverage that is not captured by the Medicare system. (Of course, if universal coverage were to come to pass, that issue would be eliminated.) Furthermore, any time claims data are used, uncertainty about the accuracy of coding must be considered. These real-world limitations notwithstanding, the linkage of registry data with claims data does have great potential for enhancing our ability to analyze—and improve—long-term orthopaedic outcomes.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

What’s New in Foot & Ankle Surgery 2018

foot-ankle-for-obuzz.jpegEvery month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sheldon Lin, MD, a co-author of the May 16, 2018 Specialty Update on Foot and Ankle Surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the 60 studies cited in the article.

Ankle Arthroscopy
—A recent Level-I study1 investigated the efficacy of preemptive local anesthesia in combination with general or spinal anesthesia in 80 patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy. The authors found that patients receiving local anesthesia did not require any on-demand pain medication and reported lower pain intensity up to 24 hours post-arthroscopy. Patients in the spinal anesthesia-only group had better pain control than did patients receiving general anesthesia only.

Hallux Rigidus
—While arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint is the preferred treatment for this condition among most providers, concerns over medial column lengthening and degenerative changes at adjacent joints have led to continued interest in MTP arthroplasty. In a 15-year follow-up of 52 patients randomized to MTP joint arthrodesis or arthroplasty2, Stone et al. found that those who underwent arthrodesis had less pain, fewer revisions, and greater satisfaction than those in the arthroplasty group, with equal function scores. On the basis of these data, arthrodesis remains the treatment of choice for severe hallux rigidus.

Total Ankle Arthroplasty (TAA)
—In a prospective study of 451 patients with an average follow-up of 4.5 years, Lefrancois et al. compared clinical and functional outcomes of 4 TAA prostheses: the HINTEGRA implant, the Agility implant, the Mobility implant, and the Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR). Patients with the Mobility implant had less improvement in scores on the Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale, while the other 3 implants had comparable results.

—In a matched cohort study of more than 3,000 patients examining the complication rates of TAA versus those of arthrodesis, Odum et al. found that patients undergoing arthrodesis had a 1.8-times higher risk of a major perioperative complication than those undergoing TAA.

Plantar Fasciitis
—In a randomized controlled trial of 50 patients investigating the efficacy of botulinum toxin for treating plantar fasciitis3, Ahmad et al. found that patients in the botulinum toxin group had improved function and pain scores compared with the placebo group at 6 and 12 months post-injection, as well as a lower rate of surgical treatment for recalcitrant symptoms (0% versus 12%).

References

  1. Liszka H, Gądek A. Preemptive local anesthesia in ankle arthroscopy. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Dec;37(12):1326-32. Epub 2016 Sep 12.
  2. Stone OD, Ray R, Thomson CE, Gibson JNA. Long-term follow-up of arthrodesis vs total joint arthroplasty for hallux rigidus. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Apr;38(4):375-80. Epub 2016 Dec 20.
  3. Ahmad J, Ahmad SH, Jones K. Treatment of plantar fasciitis with botulinum toxin. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Jan;38(1):1-7. Epub 2016 Oct 1.

Fewer In-Hospital Complications with TAA vs Ankle Fusion

TAA for OBuzzAnkle Fusion for OBuzzAmong the many variables discussed when patients and surgeons make a decision between ankle arthrodesis (fusion) and total ankle replacement (TAA) for end-stage ankle arthritis, in-hospital complication rate is an often-overlooked point of comparison, partly due to a dearth of good data.

In the September 6, 2017 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Odum et al. report findings from a matched cohort study that compared these two ankle procedures in terms of minor and major perioperative complications. To make more of an apples-to-apples comparison, the authors statistically matched 1,574 patients who underwent a TAA with an equal number of those who underwent fusion.

A major in-hospital complication (such as a pulmonary embolism or mechanical hardware problem) occurred in 8.5% of fusion patients and in 5.3% of TAA patients. After adjusting for case mix, Odum et al. found that ankle arthrodesis was 1.8 times more likely than TAA to be followed by a major complication. Regarding minor in-hospital complications (such as venous thrombosis or hematoma/seroma), the authors found a 29% lower risk of complications among arthrodesis patients compared to TAA patients, although that difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.14). Regardless of surgical procedure, patient age ≤67 years and the presence of multiple comorbidities were independently associated with a higher risk of a major complication.

A possible explanation for the lower in-hospital major-complication rate in TAA patients, say the authors, is that “TAA is more likely to be performed in younger, healthier patients with better bone quality and smaller deformities.”

What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery

Foot xray for fott and ankle O'Buzz.jpegEvery month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sheldon Lin, MD, co-author of the April 19, 2017 Specialty Update on foot and ankle surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 50 studies cited in the article.

VTE Prevention

–Recommendations for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis in isolated foot and ankle fractures are conflicting. In a prospective study, Zheng et al.1 determined the incidence of VTE in 814 patients who received either low-molecular-weight heparin or placebo for 2 weeks postoperatively. The overall incidence of deep vein thrombosis was 0.98% in the heparin group and 2.01% in the placebo group, with no significant difference between the two. The risk factors were high body mass index (BMI) and advanced age. The authors concluded that routine chemical prophylaxis was not necessary in cases of isolated foot and ankle fractures.

Age and Total Ankle Arthroplasty

–Concerns regarding implant survivorship in younger patients have prompted investigations into the effect of age on total ankle arthroplasty outcomes. Demetracopoulos et al.2 prospectively compared patient-reported outcomes and revision rates in patients who were 70 years of age. At the 3.5-year follow-up, patients who were 70 years of age, although no differences were observed in pain, need for reoperation, or revision rates between groups.

Hallux Rigidus/Hallux Valgus

–Joint-preserving arthroplasties for hallux rigidus have been proposed as an alternative to first metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis. However, they have shown high rates of failure with associated bone loss, rendering salvage arthrodesis a more complicated procedure with worse outcomes. A Level-I study by Baumhauer et al.3 investigated the use of a synthetic cartilage implant that requires less bone resection than a traditional arthroplasty. Patients were randomized to implant and arthrodesis groups. At the 2-year follow-up, pain level, functional scores, and rates of revision surgical procedures were statistically equivalent in both groups. Secondary arthrodesis was required in <10% of the implant group and was considered to be a straightforward procedure because of preservation of bone stock.

–Hallux valgus surgical procedures are commonly performed under spinal, epidural, or regional anesthesia. Although peripheral nerve blocks have become increasingly popular with the advent of ultrasound, the associated learning curve has limited more widespread use. A Level-I study by Karaarslan et al.4 compared the efficacy of ultrasound-guided popliteal sciatic nerve blocks with spinal anesthesia in patients undergoing hallux valgus correction. The popliteal block group demonstrated decreased pain scores at every time point up to 12 hours postoperatively, longer time to first analgesic requirement, and increased patient satisfaction scores compared with the spinal anesthesia group. The popliteal block group also did not experience the adverse effects of hypotension, bradycardia, and urinary retention occasionally seen with spinal anesthesia.

Orthobiologics

–Orthobiologics continue to generate considerable interest within the orthopaedic community. Platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid have been investigated as adjuncts to promote healing. In a Level-I study, Görmeli et al.5 randomized patients to receive platelet-rich plasma, hyaluronic acid, or saline solution injections following arthroscopic debridement and microfracture of talar osteochondral lesions. At the intermediate-term follow-up, the platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid groups exhibited a significant increase in AOFAS scores and decrease in pain scores compared with the control group, with the platelet-rich plasma group showing the greatest improvement.

References

  1. Zheng X, Li DY, Wangyang Y, Zhang XC, Guo KJ, Zhao FC, Pang Y, Chen YX. Effect of chemical thromboprophylaxis on the rate of venous thromboembolism after treatment of foot and ankle fractures. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Nov;37(11):1218-24.
  2. Demetracopoulos CA, Adams SB Jr, Queen RM, DeOrio JK, Nunley JA 2nd, Easley ME. Effect of age on outcomes in total ankle arthroplasty. Foot Ankle Int. 2015 Aug;36(8):871-80.
  3. Baumhauer JF, Singh D, Glazebrook M, Blundell C, De Vries G, Le ILD Nielsen D, Pedersen ME, Sakellariou A, Solan M, Wansbrough G, Younger AS, Daniels T; for and on behalf of the CARTIVA Motion Study Group. Prospective, randomized, multi-centered clinical trial assessing safety and efficacy of a synthetic cartilage implant versus first metatarsophalangeal arthrodesis in advanced hallux rigidus. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 May;37(5):457-69.
  4. Karaarslan S, Tekg¨ul ZT, S¸ ims¸ek E, Turan M, Karaman Y, Kaya A, Gönüllü M. Comparison between ultrasonography-guided popliteal sciatic nerve block and spinal anesthesia for hallux valgus repair. Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Jan;37(1):85-9. Epub 2015 Aug 20.
  5. Görmeli G, Karakaplan M, Görmeli CA, Sarıkaya B, Elmalı N, Ersoy Y. Clinical effects of platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid as an additional therapy for talar osteochondral lesions treated with microfracture surgery: a prospective randomized clinical trial. Foot Ankle Int. 2015 Aug;36(8):891-900.

JBJS Editor’s Choice: Advances in Ankle Replacement

Salto Talaris.gifWe have entered an era where total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) is accepted as a rational approach for patients with degenerative arthritis of the ankle. TAA results have been shown to be an improvement over arthrodesis in some recent comparative trials.

That was not always the case, however. In the 1980s, the orthopaedic community attacked ankle joint replacement with gusto, and numerous prosthetic designs were introduced with great enthusiasm based on short-term cohort studies. Unfortunately, the concept of TAA was all but buried as disappointing longer-term results with those older prosthetic designs appeared in the scientific literature. It took a full decade for new designs to appear and be subjected to longer-term follow-up studies before surgeons could gain ready access to more reliable instrumentation and prostheses. The producers of these implants behaved responsibly in this regard, facilitated by an FDA approval process that had increased in rigor.

In the December 21, 2016 issue of The Journal, Hofmann et al. publish their medium-term results with one prosthetic design that was FDA-approved in 2006.  Implant survival among 81 consecutive TAAs was 97.5% at a mean follow-up of 5.2 years. There were only 4 cases of aseptic loosening and no deep infections in the cohort. Total range of motion increased from 35.5° preoperatively to 39.9° postoperatively.

The fact that a high percentage (44%) of ankles underwent a concomitant procedure at the time of TAA attests to the need for careful preoperative planning for alignment of the ankle joint and the need for thorough assessment of the hindfoot. The fact that a substantial percentage (21%) of ankles underwent another procedure after the TAA attests to the need for thoughtful benefit-risk conversations with patients prior to TAA.

I think the TAA concept and procedure are here to stay, but we still have much work to do in fine-tuning prosthetic designs and instrumentation and enhancing surgeon education for more reliable outcomes.

Marc Swiontkowski, MD
JBJS Editor-in-Chief

What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery

Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sheldon Lin, MD and Michael Yeranosian, MD, co-authors of the May 18, 2016 Specialty Update on foot and ankle surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 50 studies they cited.

Ankle Fractures and Syndesmotic Injuries

–A randomized study compared syndesmotic fixation versus no fixation in patients with supination-external rotation (SER) IV-type ankle fractures and positive intraoperative stress tests (persistent widening of the medial clear space). At four years of follow-up researchers found no clinical or radiological differences between the two groups.1

–A randomized single-blinded trial to help determine optimal methods for soft-tissue management after ankle trauma compared standard treatment using ice and elevation with the use of multilayer compression bandages. Researchers found that multilayer compression therapy resulted in faster resolution of edema than cryotherapy.

Total Ankle Arthroplasty

–A prospective cohort study found that patients undergoing total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) had higher preoperative expectation scores than did those undergoing ankle arthrodesis. TAA patients were also more likely than arthrodesis patients to report improved postoperative satisfaction scores. Postoperative expectation and satisfaction scores in both groups were closely linked to postoperative Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale (AOS) scores. The study emphasizes the importance of preoperative patient education.2

Orthobiologics

–A randomized controlled trial looking at union rates in ankle and hindfoot arthrodesis compared the use of recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor BB homodimer (rhPDGF-BB) plus an injectable osteoconductive beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) collagen matrix to standard autograft.  Complete fusion of all involved joints at 24 weeks occurred in 84% of those treated with the growth factor-matrix combination and in 65% of those treated with autograft (p <0.001).3

Patient-Reported Outcomes Assessment

–The 10-center Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Outcomes Research (OFAR) Network conducted a three-month trial of collecting preoperative and six-month postoperative patient outcome information using the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Of the 328 patients enrolled, 76% completed the preoperative instruments and 43% completed the six-month postoperative instruments. Despite substantial loss to follow-up, the OFAR Network process enabled easy data aggregation and analysis, suggesting its utility in facilitating multicenter trials.4

References

  1. Kortekangas THJ, Pakarinen HJ, Savola O, Niinimäki J, Lepojärvi S, Ohtonen P, Flinkkilä T, Ristiniemi J. Syndesmotic fixation in supination-external rotation ankle fractures: a prospective randomized study. Foot Ankle Int. 2014 Oct;35(10):988-95. Epub 2014 Jun 24.
  1. Younger ASE, Wing KJ, Glazebrook M, Daniels TR, Dryden PJ, Lalonde KA, Wong H, Qian H, Penner M. Patient expectation and satisfaction as measures of operative outcome in end-stage ankle arthritis: a prospective cohort study of total ankle replacement versus ankle fusion. Foot Ankle Int. 2015 Feb;36(2):123-34.
  1. Daniels TR, Younger ASE, Penner MJ, Wing KJ, Le ILD, Russell IS, Lalonde KA, Evangelista PT, Quiton JD, Glazebrook M, DiGiovanni CW. Prospective randomized controlled trial of hindfoot and ankle fusions treated with rhPDGF-BB in combination with a β-TCP-collagen matrix. Foot Ankle Int. 2015 Jul;36(7):739-48.Epub 2015 Apr 6.
  1. Hunt KJ, Alexander I, Baumhauer J, Brodsky J, Chiodo C, Daniels T, Davis WH, Deland J, Ellis S, Hung M, Ishikawa SN, Latt LD, Phisitkul P, SooHoo NF, Yang A, Saltzman CL; OFAR (Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Outcomes Research Network). The Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Outcomes Research (OFAR) network: feasibility of a multicenter network for patient outcomes assessment in foot and ankle. Foot Ankle Int. 2014Sep;35(9):847-54.

 

What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery: Level I and II Studies

Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Here is a summary of selected findings from Level I and II studies cited in the May 20, 2015 Specialty Update on foot and ankle surgery:

Talar and Calcaneal Fractures

Ankle Instability

  • A prospective randomized study of treatments for severe lateral ankle sprains compared a walking boot with restricted joint mobilization for three weeks with immediate application of a functional brace. No between-group differences in pain scores or development of mechanical instability were found, but the immediate functional-brace group had better function scores and shorter recoveries.
  • A randomized trial comparing neuromuscular training, bracing, and a combination of the two for managing lateral ankle sprains concluded that bracing is the dominant secondary preventive intervention.

Total Ankle Arthroplasty

Ankle and Hindfoot Arthrodesis

  • A pilot RCT comparing B2A-coated ceramic granules with autograft in foot and ankle arthrodesis found that the B2A approach produced a 100% fusion rate, compared with a 92% rate in the autograft group.

Achilles Tendon

  • A Level II study found that weight-bearing cast immobilization provided outcomes that were similar to those of non-weight-bearing cast immobilization in non-operative management of acute Achilles tendon ruptures.

Peripheral Neuropathy

  • In an RCT comparing standard-of-care orthoses with experimental pressure-based orthoses to prevent plantar foot ulcers, the experimental orthoses outperformed the standard ones.
  • A Level I study investigating surgical-site infections after foot and/or ankle surgery found an increased risk of infection associated with concomitant peripheral neuropathy, even in patients without diabetes.