Original Research| Volume 49, ISSUE 4, P369-374, July 2010

Distraction Arthrodesis of the Subtalar Joint Using Allogeneic Bone Graft: A Review of 15 Cases

  • Michael S. Lee
    Address correspondence to: Michael S. Lee, DPM, FACFAS, Associate Clinical Professor, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University; Private Practice, Capital Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, PC, 12499 University Avenue, Suite 210, Des Moines, Iowa 50325.
    Associate Clinical Professor, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University; Private Practice, Capital Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, PC, Des Moines, IA
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  • Valerie Tallerico
    Fourth-year podiatric medical student, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA
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      Distraction arthrodesis of the subtalar joint is often used for the correction of neglected calcaneal fractures. Although different techniques have been advocated, there remains some debate as to the optimal type of bone graft for this purpose. This study retrospectively reviewed one surgeon's results for distraction arthrodesis of the talocalcaneal joint for 15 consecutive feet in 15 patients using 12 frozen femoral head and 3 freeze-dried iliac crest allografts. Indications for distraction arthrodesis in this series included neglected calcaneal fracture (n = 10), failed open reduction with internal fixation (n = 3), malunion after ankle fusion (n = 1), and subtalar joint arthritis with deformity (n = 1). The mean patient age was 47.5 (range 29 to 66) years, and the mean duration of follow-up was 20.6 (range 13 to 31) months. Complete union was achieved in 14 (93.33%) feet. Orthobiological agents were used in every case, including 7 (46.67%) platelet-rich plasma, 5 (33.33%) demineralized bone matrix combined with platelet-rich plasma, 2 (13.33%) platelet-rich plasma combined with an implantable electrical bone growth stimulator, and 1 (6.67%) demineralized bone matrix only. One (6.67%) patient developed a nonunion with collapse of the allogeneic graft, requiring revision with autogenous iliac crest bone graft. There were 8 (53.33%) minor complications, including 4 (26.66%) cases with inferior heel irritation, 2 (13.33%) with sural nerve paresthesia, and 2 (13.33%) with wound dehiscence. In conclusion, the use of allograft for subtalar joint distraction arthrodesis results in similar union rates as autogenous iliac crest grafting previously reported in the literature.

      Level of Clinical Evidence


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