Systematic Review of Subtalar Distraction Arthrodesis for the Treatment of Subtalar Arthritis.
BACKGROUND: Subtalar distraction arthrodesis (SDA) was developed as a means of treating the symptoms of subtalar arthritis. Despite almost 30 years of research in this field, many controversies still exist regarding SDA. The objective of this study was to present an overview of outcomes following SDA, focusing on surgical technique as well as clinical and radiographic results. METHODS: MEDLINE and EMBASE were queried and data abstraction was performed by 2 independent reviewers. Inclusion criteria for the articles were (1) English language, (2) peer-reviewed clinical studies with evidence levels I to IV, (3) with at least 5 patients, and (4) reporting clinical and/or radiographic outcomes of SDA. RESULTS: Twenty-five studies matched the inclusion criteria (2 Level III and 23 Level IV studies) including 492 feet in 467 patients. The most common indication for SDA was late complications of calcaneus fractures. Many different operative techniques have been described, and there is no proven superiority of one method over the other. The most commonly reported complications were nonunion, hardware prominence, wound complications, and sural neuralgia. All studies showed both radiographic and clinical improvement at the last follow-up visit compared with the preoperative evaluation. Pooled results (12 studies, 237 patients) demonstrated improved American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot scores with a weighted average of 33 points of improvement. CONCLUSION: SDA provides good clinical results at short-term and midterm follow-up, with improvement in ankle function as well as acceptable complication and failure rates. Higher quality studies are necessary to better assess outcomes between different operative techniques. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III.
Fletcher, AN; Liles, JL; Steele, JJ; Pereira, GF; Adams, SB
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