Open Ankle Arthrodesis: A Retrospective Analysis Comparing Different Fixation Methods

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A wide variation of surgical options, complications, and union rates are reported in the treatment of end-stage ankle arthritis. However, open ankle arthrodesis remains the golden standard for ankle arthritis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the union rate and complication rate as well as identify potential risk factors for different methods of fixation in patients with end-stage ankle arthritis of different etiology. In total, 42 ankles of 41 patients with ankle osteoarthritis were included for this single-center retrospective study. The mean age was 50 years (range 22-75 years). Twenty patients were treated with screw-fixation, 14 with plate(s) and 8 with intramedullary nail. The results of this study showed an overall union rate of 97.6% (41 of the 42 operated ankles) and an overall complication rate of 21.4% (9 events). The mean follow-up time was 16 months (range 2.5-83.0 months). Complications consisted of 1 nonunion, 4 deep infections, 2 cases of wound dehiscence, 1 delayed union and 1 malalignment of the ankle joint. The plate-fixation group demonstrated significantly higher infections when compared with screw and intramedullary nail fixation (p = .017). There were no other significant variables for incidence of complications between patients in the uncomplicated and complicated group. This study achieved good clinical results for different methods of fixation in open ankle arthrodesis. In specific, the use of intramedullary nail provides excellent results for end-stage ankle arthritis with high union rate and a low complication rate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of foot and ankle surgery
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • 3
  • complication
  • fusion
  • osteoarthritis
  • post-traumatic
  • risk factors
  • union

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