Acta Orthop 2010; 81: 114-8.

Total ankle replacement: a population-based study of 515 cases from the Finnish Arthroplasty Register.

Skyttä ET, Koivu H, Eskelinen A, Ikävalko M, Paavolainen P, Remes V.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Although total ankle replacement (TAR) is a recognized procedure for treatment of the painful arthritic ankle, the best choice of implant and the long-term results are still unknown. We evaluated the survival of two TAR designs and factors associated with survival using data from the nationwide arthroplasty registry in Finland.

METHODS: 573 primary TARs were performed during the period 1982-2006 because of rheumatic, arthritic, or posttraumatic ankle degeneration. We selected contemporary TAR designs that were each used in more than 40 operations, including the S.T.A.R. (n = 217) and AES (n = 298), to assess their respective survival rates. The mean age of the patients was 55 (17-86) years and 63% of operations were performed in women. Kaplan-Meier analysis and the Cox regression model were used for survival analysis. The effects of age, sex, diagnosis, and hospital volume were also studied.

RESULTS: The annual incidence of TAR was 1.5 per 10(5) inhabitants. The 5-year overall survivorship for the whole TAR cohort was 83% (95% CI: 81-86), which agrees with earlier reports. The most frequent reasons for revision were aseptic loosening of one or both of the prosthesis components (39%) and instability (39%). We found no difference in survival rate between the S.T.A.R. and AES designs. Furthermore, age, sex, diagnosis, and hospital volume (< 10 and > 100 replacements in each of 17 hospitals) did not affect the TAR survival.

INTERPRETATION: Based on our findings, we cannot conclude that any prosthesis was superior to any other. A high number of technical errors in primary TARs suggests that this low-volume field of implant arthroplasty should be centralized to fewer units.

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