Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:802–8.

A new form of surgical treatment for patients with avascular necrosis of the talus and secondary osteoarthritis of the ankle

N. Kodama, Y. Takemura, H. Ueba, S. Imai, Y. Matsusue

A new method of vascularised tibial grafting has been developed for the treatment of avascular necrosis (AVN) of the talus and secondary osteoarthritis (OA) of the ankle. We used 40 cadavers to identify the vascular anatomy of the distal tibia in order to establish how to elevate a vascularised tibial graft safely. Between 2008 and 2012, eight patients (three male, five female, mean age 50 years; 26 to 68) with isolated AVN of the talus and 12 patients (four male, eight female, mean age 58 years; 23 to 76) with secondary OA underwent vascularised bone grafting from the distal tibia either to revascularise the talus or for arthrodesis. The radiological and clinical outcomes were evaluated at a mean follow-up of 31 months (24 to 62). The peri-malleolar arterial arch was confirmed in the cadaveric study. A vascularised bone graft could be elevated safely using the peri-malleolar pedicle. The clinical outcomes for the group with AVN of the talus assessed with the mean Mazur ankle grading scores, improved significantly from 39 points (21 to 48) pre-operatively to 81 points (73 to 90) at the final follow-up (p = 0.01). In all eight revascularisations, bone healing was obtained without progression to talar collapse, and union was established in 11 of 12 vascularised arthrodeses at a mean follow-up of 34 months (24 to 58). MRI showed revascularisation of the talus in all patients.


We conclude that a vascularised tibial graft can be used both for revascularisation of the talus and for the arthrodesis of the ankle in patients with OA secondary to AVN of the talus.

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