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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 1/2016

Arthroscopic arthrodesis for ankle arthritis without bone graft

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research > Ausgabe 1/2016
Xiaojun Duan, Liu Yang, Li Yin
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13018-016-0490-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Ankle arthrodesis is considered by many to be the standard operative treatment for end-stage ankle arthritis. The purpose of this study was to perform a new technique for ankle joint surface and determine the outcome for the union rates of ankle arthroscopic arthrodesis.


A total of 68 patients with posttraumatic arthritis, primary osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis were treated by ankle arthroscopic arthrodesis between May 2007 and December 2012. Our surgical indication was deformity less than 15° measured by weight-bearing radiographs. Firstly, the remaining articular cartilage was removed with different curettes and shavers. Then, the new technique (microfracture) was done at tibiotalar surfaces. Finally, the ankle was fixed with two cannulated percutaneous screws. The wound healing, complications, postoperative radiographs, and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score were evaluated.


The average follow-up time was 32 months (range 25–58 months). There was no bone grafting, and a fusion rate of 100% was achieved. The average fusion time was 12.1 weeks. One patient developed superficial infection at 2 weeks postoperatively and was cured by nonsurgical treatment. No deep infections, deep venous thrombosis, or revision surgery were observed. Screws had been removed in four patients because of prominence. One patient had fusion in the subtalar joint because of arthritis at 5 years postoperatively. At the last follow-up, radiographic signs of developed or progressing arthritis were observed in nine patients at subtalar joint and in four patients at talonavicular joint. At 1-year follow-up, the mean AOFAS ankle/hindfoot score had increased to 84 from a mean preoperative value of 38 (P < 0.01).


Arthroscopic arthrodesis provides surgeons with an alternative to traditional open techniques for the management of severe ankle arthritis. Our data show that preparation of the joint surface with microfracture is an effective technique to increase the union rate of arthroscopic ankle arthrodesis, while bone graft and other promoting substances are not necessary to be routinely used.
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