Case Reports and Series| Volume 54, ISSUE 6, P1172-1177, November 2015

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Tibiocalcaneal Arthrodesis With a Porous Tantalum Spacer and Locked Intramedullary Nail for Post-Traumatic Global Avascular Necrosis of the Talus


      Global avascular necrosis of the talus is a devastating complication that usually occurs as a result of a post-traumatic or metabolic etiology. When conservative options fail, tibiocalcaneal arthrodesis is generally indicated in conjunction with massive bone grafting to maintain the functional length of the extremity. Several bone grafting options are available, including the use of a freeze-dried or fresh-frozen femoral head allograft or autograft obtained from the iliac crest or fibula, all of which pose their own inherent risks. The noted complications with massive bone grafting techniques have included graft collapse, infection, immune response, donor site morbidity, and nonunion. In an effort to avoid many of these complications, we present a case report involving post-traumatic talar avascular necrosis in a 59-year-old male who was successfully treated with the use of a porous tantalum spacer, an autogenic morselized fibular bone graft, and 30 mL of bone marrow aspirate in conjunction with a retrograde tibiocalcaneal nail. Porous tantalum is an attractive substitute for bone grafting because of its structural integrity, biocompatibility, avoidance of donor site complications, and lack of an immune response. The successful use of porous tantalum has been well-documented in hip and knee surgery. We present a practical surgical approach to tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis with a large segmental deficit. To our knowledge, this is the first published report describing an alternative surgical technique to address global avascular necrosis of the talus that could have additional applications in salvaging the ankle with a large bone deficiency.

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