Acta Orthopaedica, 89:5, 560-564, DOI: 10.1080/17453674.2018.1488208

Re-arthrodesis after primary ankle fusion: 134/1,716 cases from the Swedish Ankle Registry

Anders Henricson, Lars Jehpsson, Åke Carlsson & Björn E Rosengren

Background and purpose — Arthrodesis is the most common treatment of severe ankle arthritis. Large studies on the occurrence of re-arthrodesis are few, especially with information in terms of risk. We used the National Swedish Ankle Registry to assess incidence and risk factors for re-arthrodesis.

Patients and methods — In the Registry, we examined the occurrence of re-arthrodesis in 1,716 patients with a primary ankle arthrodesis. We also analyzed associations between the re-arthrodesis risk and sex, diagnosis, and surgical method.

Results — The risk of first re-arthrodesis at 2.5 years was 7.4% and the rate at 9 years 7.8%. The risk following arthroscopic surgery with fixation by screws was 15%, which is statistically significantly higher than the 8% following the gold standard technique with open screw fixation, the 5% following fixation by intramedullary nailing, and the 3% following fixation by plate and screws. Patients with either idiopathic osteoarthritis or posttraumatic arthritis had a higher risk of re-arthrodesis than patients with rheumatoid arthritis. We could not find that the risk of re-arthrodesis was associated with sex.

Interpretation — In Sweden, the re-arthrodesis risk varied by primary technique and was especially high after arthroscopic surgery. Reasons are unknown but poor surgical technique and/or surgeon inexperience may contribute, as may patient selection.

Download article