Limb salvage for Charcot's neuroarthropathy has been shown to have high complication and failure rates. The aim of our report of two cases it to present a unique complication encountered with staged limb salvage for Charcot's neuroarthropathy. In two cases, patients developed delayed tibial shaft fracture associated with previous wire placement despite insertion of locked intramedullary nail fixation that spanned the delayed fracture. Both patients experienced fractures following advancement of weight after definitive fixation. In both patients, there was noted complication with the sites of the pins and revision of external fixation before fracture. In each case, the fracture was within the construct of the intramedullary fixation and successfully treated with an extended course of nonweightbearing. Complications of external fixation and intramedullary fixation are well reported within the literature; however, tibia fracture is rare. Based on these cases, it would seem prudent to recognize the risk of delayed pin-site complications and ensure adequate length of intramedullary fixation to span the potential areas of stress.
Retrograde intramedullary nailing for tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis (TTCA) is used for severe hindfoot deformities, end-stage arthritis, and limb salvage. The procedure is technically demanding, with complications such as infection, hardware failure, nonunion, osteomyelitis, and possible limb loss or death. This study reports the outcomes and complications of patients undergoing TTCA with a femoral nail, which is widely available and offers an extensive range of lengths and diameters.
We performed a retrospective review of 104 patients who underwent 109 TTCAs using a femoral nail as the primary procedure (January 2006 through December 2016). Demographic data, risk factors, and outcomes were evaluated.
At final follow-up, the overall clinical union rate was 89 of 109 (81.7%). Diabetes mellitus was negatively associated with limb salvage (P = .03), and peripheral neuropathy (P = .02) and Charcot's neuroarthropathy (P = .03) were negatively associated with clinical union. Only four patients (3.8%) underwent proximal amputation, at an average of 6.1 months, and 11 patients (10.6%) died, at a mean of 38.0 months. The most common complication was ulceration in 27 of 109 limbs (24.8%), followed by infection in 25 (22.9%). Twenty-three patients (22.1%) underwent revision procedures, at a mean of 9.4 months. Thirteen of these 23 patients (56.5%) had antibiotic cement rod spacers/rods for deep infection–related complications.
Use of a femoral nail has been shown to provide similar outcomes and limb salvage rates compared with other methods of TTCA reported for similar indications in the literature.
Background: Recurrent ulceration is a common problem after partial first-ray amputations. Loss of the first metatarsophalangeal joint contributes to altered biomechanics and increased pressure on the foot. This may increase risk of adjacent ulcerations and additional amputations. Preserving first-ray length maintains the metatarsal parabola and limits transfer lesions, but few data support this. We aimed to evaluate the incidence of ulceration after partial first-ray amputations and to assess the association between metatarsal protrusion distance and recurrent ulceration.
Methods: Thirty-two consecutive patients underwent unilateral partial first-ray amputation at various levels along the first metatarsal, and the metatarsal protrusion distance was measured after surgery. Incidence of ulceration was evaluated on the ipsilateral foot. We hypothesized that patients with a longer first metatarsal were less likely to ulcerate again on the ipsilateral foot.
Results: Fourteen patients (43.8%) ulcerated again after partial first-ray amputation. Mean time to ulceration was 104 days. Active smoking status was associated with increased risk of another ulceration (P = .02), and chronic kidney disease was associated with a decreased risk of recurrent ulceration (P = .03). The average metatarsal protrusion distance for patients who ulcerated again after surgery was 36.1 mm versus 25.9 mm for patients who did not (P = .04). Logistic regression analysis of the receiver operating characteristic curve demonstrated an ideal cutoff length for recurrent ulceration of 37 mm (area under the curve = 0.7381). Patients with a protrusion distance greater than 37 mm were nine times as likely to ulcerate again (95% CI, 1.7–47.0).
Conclusions: Partial first-ray amputations can be a good initial salvage procedure to clear infection and prolong bipedal ambulatory status. Unfortunately, these patients are prone to recurrent ulceration. Significant loss of first metatarsal length is a poor prognostic indicator for recurrent ulceration.