Flexor Tenotomy Improves Healing and Prevention of Diabetes-Related Toe Ulcers: A Systematic Review


      Toe deformities are common in people with diabetes and are often associated with toe ulcers. Operative procedures have been used to reduce toe deformities, because these were proposed to be beneficial in the management of toe ulcers. The present systematic review investigated the effect of flexor tenotomy to address toe deformity for healing and preventing diabetes-related toe ulcers. Four electronic databases were searched in January 2016. Studies were included if they had reported the effects of flexor tenotomy for healing and/or preventing diabetes-related toe ulcers. Six studies with a total of 264 flexor tenotomies performed on toes with ulcers and 57 performed as a prophylactic procedure were included. The mean duration of preoperative ulceration was 207.9 (range 7 to 1825) days. The mean duration to postoperative ulcer healing was 29.5 days, with an overall healing rate of 97%. The rate of ulcer recurrence was 6%. All the toes that had undergone prophylactic flexor tenotomy remained free of ulceration. Overall, the rate of complications was low. Flexor tenotomy to address toe deformity is relatively safe and effective in healing and preventing diabetes-related toe ulcers. Flexor tenotomy should be considered in the management of diabetes-related toe ulcers in the presence of toe deformities.

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