The purpose of this article was to report the complications associated with uni-portal endoscopic gastrocnemius recession for surgical treatment of pathologic soft tissue ankle equinus contracture in diabetic patients. This is an observational case series involving a retrospective review of prospectively collected data of 23 uni-portal endoscopic gastrocnemius recessions used to treat pathologic soft tissue ankle equinus contracture in 18 consecutive diabetic patients between November 2006 and January 2009. Each patient underwent uni-portal endoscopic gastrocnemius recession under general or spinal anesthesia with thigh tourniquet control in combination with soft tissue and/or osseous reconstructive foot and/or ankle surgery. Patients were kept non–weight bearing based on the index procedure and followed until clinical healing occurred or failure was declared. There were 9 male and 9 female patients with a mean age ± SD of 69.0 ± 7.4-years (range: 47.0 to 71.0 years). There were 11 right and 12 left lower limbs involved, with 5 procedures performed bilateral. Complications included 3 conversions to an open incision secondary to difficulty dissecting through excessive adipose tissue, delayed healing of 3 incision sites in patients with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus at the time of surgery, and 3 undercorrections in patients with spastic contractures. The remainder of the procedures were deemed successful with no saphenous nerve, sural nerve, or lesser saphenous vein related injuries occurring. When properly performed, uni-portal endoscopic gastrocnemius recession represents a safe, reliable, and minimally invasive technique useful for correcting pathologic soft tissue ankle equinus contracture in patients with diabetes. A percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening should be performed in patients who have marginal arterial inflow that precludes tourniquet use or have a spastic contracture. An open rather than endoscopic gastrocnemius recession should be performed in patients with excessive adipose tissue. Before surgery, the risk of delayed wound healing should be discussed with patients who have uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and in-patient management with tight glycemic control considered.
Level of Clinical Evidence
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Disclaimer: The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private view of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.
Financial Disclosure: None reported.
Conflict of Interest: None reported.
© 2010 American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.