Research Article| Volume 58, ISSUE 5, P870-876, September 2019

Proximal Ultrasound-Guided Gastrocnemius Recession: A New Ultra-Minimally Invasive Surgical Technique


      Selective proximal recession of the medial gastrocnemius head has clear advantages over other approaches and can be performed as a single or combined open procedure for many indications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a new technique based on ultrasound-guided ultraminimally invasive proximal gastrocnemius recession. We performed a pilot study with 16 cadavers to ensure that the technique was effective and safe; we then prospectively performed gastrocnemius recession in 12 patients (23 cases) with gastrocnemius contracture associated with other indications. We evaluated pre- and postprocedure dorsiflexion, clinical outcomes (based on the visual analog scale and American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society scores), and potential complications. We achieved effective release of the proximal medial gastrocnemius tendon in all cases, with no damage to other tissue. Ankle dorsiflexion increased 12° (range 6° to 18°) (p = .05) and was maintained throughout follow-up. The mean preoperative visual analog scale score was 7 (range 5 to 9), which improved to 1 (range 0 to 2) (p = .01). The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society Ankle-Hindfoot Score improved from a mean of 25 (range 20 to 40) to 85 (range 80 to 100) at 6 months and 90 at 12 months (p = .01). No major complications were observed. We considered the technique to be safe and effective for ultrasound-guided ultraminimally invasive proximal-medial gastrocnemius recession using a 1-mm incision in vivo. This novel technique is an alternative to open techniques, with encouraging results and with the potential advantages of reducing pain and obviating lower limb ischemia and deep anesthesia, thus decreasing complications and contraindications and accelerating recovery, although further studies are required.

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