Publications by authors named "Christopher W DiGiovanni"

127 Publications

Do Coronal or Sagittal Plane Measurements Have the Highest Accuracy to Arthroscopically Diagnose Syndesmotic Instability?

Foot Ankle Int 2021 Jun 23;42(6):805-809. Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Foot & Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: To compare the accuracy of arthroscopic sagittal versus coronal plane distal tibiofibular motion toward diagnosing syndesmotic instability.

Methods: Arthroscopic assessment of the syndesmosis was performed on 21 above-knee cadaveric specimens, first with all ligaments intact and subsequently with sequential transection of the anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, the interosseous ligament, the posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, and the deltoid ligament. A lateral hook test, an anterior-to-posterior (AP) translation test, and a posterior-to-anterior (PA) translation test were performed under 100 N of applied force. Anterior and posterior third coronal plane diastasis and AP and PA sagittal plane fibular translations were measured relative to the static tibia.

Results: Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed that the area under the curve (AUC) was higher for the combined AP and PA sagittal measurements (AUC, 0.91; accuracy, 83.5%; sensitivity, 78%; specificity, 89%) than the coronal plane measurements (anterior third: AUC, 0.65; accuracy, 60.5%; sensitivity, 63%; specificity, 59%; posterior third: AUC, 0.73; accuracy, 68.5%; sensitivity, 80%; specificity, 57%) ( < .001), underscoring the higher accuracy of sagittal plane measurements.

Conclusion: Arthroscopic measurement of sagittal plane fibular translation is more accurate than coronal plane diastasis for evaluating syndesmotic instability.

Clinical Relevance: Clinicians should focus on distal tibiofibular motion in the sagittal plane when arthroscopically evaluating suspected syndesmotic instability.

Level Of Evidence: Biomechanical cadaveric study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10711007211004151DOI Listing
June 2021

Arthroscopic characterization of syndesmotic instability in the coronal plane: Exactly what measurement matters?

Injury 2021 Apr 9. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Foot and Ankle Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Although ankle arthroscopy is increasingly used to diagnose syndesmotic instability, precisely where in the incisura one should measure potential changes in tibiofibular space or how much tibiofibular space is indicative of instability, however, remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine where within the incisura one should assess coronal plane syndesmotic instability and what degree of tibiofibular space correlates with instability in purely ligamentous syndesmotic injuries under condition of lateral hook stress test (LHT) assessment.

Methods: Ankle arthroscopy was performed on 22 cadaveric specimens, first with intact ankle ligaments and then after sequential sectioning of the syndesmotic and deltoid ligaments. At each step, a 100N lateral hook test was applied through a lateral incision 5 cm proximal to the ankle joint and the coronal plane tibiofibular space in the stressed and unstressed states were measured at both anterior and posterior third of the distal tibiofibular joint, using calibrated probes ranging from 0.1 to 6.0 mm, in 0.1 mm of increments. The anterior and posterior points of measurements were defined as the junction between the anterior and middle third, and junction between posterior and middle third of the incisura, respectively.

Results: Anterior third tibiofibular space measurements did not correlate significantly with the degree of syndesmotic instability after transection of the ligaments, neither before nor after applying LHT at all the three groups of different sequences of ligament transection (P range 0.085-0.237). In contrast, posterior third tibiofibular space measurements correlated significantly with the degree of syndesmotic instability after transection of the ligaments, both with and without applying stress in all the groups of different ligament transection (P range <0.001-0.015). Stressed tibiofibular space measurements of the posterior third showed higher sensitivity and specificity when compared to the stressed anterior third measurements. Using 2.7 mm as a cut off for posterior third stressed measurements has both sensitivity and specificity about 70 %.

Conclusion: Syndesmotic ligament injury results in coronal plane instability of the distal tibiofibular articulation that is readily identified arthroscopically with LHT when measured in the posterior third of the incisura.

Clinical Relevance: When applying LHT, tibiofibular space measurement for coronal plane instability along the anterior third of the incisura is less sensitive for identifying syndesmotic instability and may miss this diagnosis especially when subtle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2021.04.030DOI Listing
April 2021

Volume measurements on weightbearing computed tomography can detect subtle syndesmotic instability.

J Orthop Res 2021 Apr 8. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

While weightbearing computed tomography (WBCT) allows three-dimensional (3D) visualization of the distal syndesmosis, image interpretation has largely relied on one-dimensional (1D) distance and, more recently, two-dimensional (2D) area measurements. This study aimed to (1) determine the sensitivity and specificity of 2D area and 3D volume WBCT measurements towards detecting subtle syndesmotic instability, (2) evaluate whether the patterns of changes in the 3D shape of the syndesmosis can be attributed to the type of ligament injury. A total of 24 patients with unilateral subtle syndesmotic instability and 24 individuals with uninjured ankles (controls) with bilateral ankle WBCT were assessed retrospectively. First, 2D areas at 0, 1, 3, 5, and 10 cm, and 3D volumes at 1, 3, 5, and 10 cm above the tibial plafond were measured bilaterally. Secondly, the 3D model of the distal tibiofibular space was created based on WBCT in a subset of 8 out of 24 patients in whom the type of ligament injury was recognized via magnetic resonance imaging. The 3D model of the injured side was superimposed on the uninjured contralateral side to visualize the pattern of changes in different planes. Volume measurement up to 5 cm above the tibial plafond showed the lowest p-value (<0.001 vs. other methods), higher sensitivity (95.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 87.8-100), and specificity (83.3%, 95% CI: 68.4-98.2) for detection of syndesmotic instability. No specific pattern of changes in the 3D shape could be attributed to a type of ligament rupture. We suggest 3D volume measurements, best measured up to 5 cm proximal to the plafond, as a promising means of diagnosing syndesmotic instability, particularly for subtle cases that are hard to detect. Clinical significance: The ability to compare the ankle joints bilaterally in a 3D manner under physiologic weight provided by weightbearing CT has led to a more accurate diagnostic method. Using volumetric measurement up to 5 cm above the tibial plafond showed higher sensitivity and specificity for recognizing an unstable syndesmosis, especially in subtle cases. However, our preliminary investigations showed that the pattern of 3D alterations in the distal tibiofibular joint space based on WBCT images does not indicate the type of syndesmotic ligamentous injury. Our results can also help image viewing programs to improve their measurement tools to facilitate 3D measurement for the syndesmosis as well as other conditions that may benefit from 3D evaluation of the clinical images.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.25049DOI Listing
April 2021

Biomechanics Following Anatomic Lateral Ligament Repair of Chronic Ankle Instability: A Systematic Review.

J Foot Ankle Surg 2020 Oct 7. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Chief of Division of Foot & Ankle Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Foot & Ankle Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; President-Elect, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

One of the most common orthopedic injuries in the general population, particularly among athletes, is ankle sprain. We investigated the literature to evaluate the known pre- and postoperative biomechanical changes of the ankle after anatomic lateral ligament repair in patients suffering from chronic ankle instability. In this systematic review, studies published till January 2020 were identified by using synonyms for "kinetic outcomes," "kinematic outcomes," "Broström procedure," and "lateral ligament repair." Included studies reported on pre- and postoperative kinematic and/or kinetic data. Twelve articles, including 496 patients treated with anatomic lateral ligament repair, were selected for critical appraisal. Following surgery, both preoperative talar tilt and anterior talar translation were reduced similarly to the values found in the uninjured contralateral side. However, 16 of 152 (10.5%) patients showed a decrease in ankle range of motion after the surgery. Despite the use of these various techniques, there were no identifiable differences in biomechanical postoperative outcomes. Anatomic lateral ligament repair for chronic ankle instability can restore ankle biomechanics similar to that of healthy uninjured individuals. There is currently no biomechanical evidence to support or refute a biomechanical advantage of any of the currently used surgical ligament repair techniques mentioned among included studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.jfas.2020.09.017DOI Listing
October 2020

Screw versus suture button in treatment of syndesmosis instability: Comparison using weightbearing CT scan.

Foot Ankle Surg 2021 Apr 5;27(3):285-290. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; Foot and Ankle Service, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, USA.

Background: The superiority of screw or suture button fixation for syndesmotic instability remains debatable. Our aim is to compare radiographic outcomes of screw and suture button fixation of syndesmotic instability using weight bearing CT scan (WBCT).

Methods: Twenty patients with fixation of unilateral syndesmotic instability were recruited and divided among two groups (screw = 10, suture button = 10). All patients had WBCT of both ankles ≥12 months postoperatively.

Results: In suture button group, injured side measurements were significantly different from normal side for syndesmotic area (P = 0.003), fibular rotation (P = 0.004), anterior difference (P = 0.025) and direct anterior difference (P = 0.035). In screw group, syndesmotic area was the only significantly different measurement (P = 0.006).

Conclusion: While both screw and suture button didn't completely restore the syndesmotic area as compared to the contralateral uninjured ankle, external malrotation of the fibula was uniquely associated with suture button fixation.

Level Of Evidence: III Retrospective Cohort Study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fas.2021.01.001DOI Listing
April 2021

Outcomes After Arthroscopic Surgery for Anterior Impingement in the Ankle Joint in the General and Athletic Populations: Does Sex Play a Role?

Am J Sports Med 2021 Jan 5:363546520980096. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, NYU Langone Health, New York, New York, USA.

Background: Although anterior ankle impingement is a common pathology within the athletic population, there have been limited data evaluating outcomes of arthroscopic intervention and whether patient sex affects treatment outcomes.

Purpose: To provide an overview of the clinical outcomes of arthroscopic procedures used as a treatment strategy for anterior ankle impingement and to determine if patient sex affects outcomes.

Study Design: Systematic review.

Methods: A systematic literature search of the MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane databases was performed during August 2019. The following combination of search terms was utilized: "ankle," "impingement," "talus," "osteophyte," "arthroscopy," "surgery," "procedures," and "treatment." Two reviewers independently performed data extraction.

Results: A total of 28 articles evaluating 1506 patients were included in this systematic review. Among the studies, 60% (17/28) and 14% (4/28) assessed anterolateral and anteromedial impingement, respectively. Good to excellent results were reported after arthroscopy in patients with anterior ankle impingement, with a success rate of 81.04%. All studies that evaluated functional outcomes (16/16; 100%) cited improvements in American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society scale, visual analog scale, and Foot Function Index. The average complication rate was 4.01%, with the most common complications being mild nerve symptoms and superficial infection. The most common concomitant pathologies included synovitis, osteophytes, meniscoid lesions, and anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament injury. Four studies (15%) failed to report sex as a demographic variable. Only 7 (25%) studies included analysis by sex, with 4 (57%) of these demonstrating differences when comparing outcomes by patient sex. When compared with male patients, female patients exhibited higher rates of traumatic ankle sprains, chondral injury, and chronic ankle instability associated with anterior ankle impingement.

Conclusion: Our systematic review demonstrates that arthroscopic treatment for anterior ankle impingement provides good to excellent functional outcomes, low complication rates, and good return-to-sports rates in both the general and the athletic population. This study also reports a lack of statistical analysis evaluating outcomes comparing male and female populations. The included studies demonstrate that, compared with male patients, female patients have higher rates of traumatic ankle sprains, chondral injury, and chronic ankle instability associated with anterior ankle impingement; therefore, particular attention should be paid to addressing such concomitant pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0363546520980096DOI Listing
January 2021

The Impact of Patient Age on Foot and Ankle Arthrodesis Supplemented with Autograft or an Autograft Alternative (rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP).

JB JS Open Access 2020 Oct-Dec;5(4). Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

A recent survey of orthopaedic surgeons asking about risk factors for nonunion following foot and ankle arthrodesis revealed that patient age is considered to be a relatively low risk factor, despite the potential for autologous graft quality to deteriorate with increasing age. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the impact of patient age and graft type on fusion rates following hindfoot and ankle arthrodesis.

Methods: In this study, we analyzed data from a previously published clinical trial, comparing fusion success in 397 subjects who underwent hindfoot or ankle arthrodesis (597 joints) supplemented with either autograft or an osteoinductive autograft alternative, recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-BB homodimer carried in beta-tricalcium phosphate (rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP). The odds of fusion success were compared among subjects older or younger than age thresholds of 55, 60, 65, 70, and 75 years. The odds of fusion success were also compared between autograft and rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP among subjects older than each age threshold.

Results: In the autograft group, the joints of subjects who were younger than the age thresholds of 60 and 65 years had >2 times the odds of successful fusion compared with those of older subjects. There was no significant difference in the odds of fusion success between the older and younger subjects at the age threshold of 55 years. In the rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP group, there was no significant difference in the odds of successful fusion between older and younger subjects at any age threshold. When the odds of fusion success were compared between the 2 graft materials in subjects who were older than each age threshold, rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP had approximately 2 times the odds of fusion success compared with autograft for all thresholds, except 55 years.

Conclusions: The presented evidence suggests that age is an identifiable and concerning risk factor for hindfoot and ankle arthrodesis nonunion, a finding in contrast to the wider perception in the surgeon community. Notably, patients ≥60 years of age had significantly lower odds of fusion success with the use of autograft. The data reveal that use of rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP as an alternative bone-healing adjunct may help mitigate the risk of nonunion when these procedures are performed in the elderly population.

Level Of Evidence: Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.OA.20.00056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7757837PMC
November 2020

Using area and volume measurement via weightbearing CT to detect Lisfranc instability.

J Orthop Res 2020 Dec 24. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Foot & Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Weightbearing CT (WBCT) allows evaluation of the Lisfranc joint under physiologic load. We compared the diagnostic sensitivities of one-dimensional (1D) distance, two-dimensional (2D) area, and three-dimensional (3D) volumetric measurement of the injured Lisfranc joint complex (tarsometatarsal, intertarsal, and intermetatarsal) on WBCT among patients with surgically-confirmed Lisfranc instability. The experimental group comprised of 14 patients having unilateral Lisfranc instability requiring operative fixation who underwent preoperative bilateral foot and ankle WBCT. The control group included 36 patients without foot injury who underwent similar imaging. Measurements performed on WBCT images included: (1) Lisfranc joint (medial cuneiform-base of second metatarsal) area, (2) C1-C2 intercuneiform area, (3) C1-M2 distance, (4) C1-C2 distance, (5) M1-M2 distance, (6) first tarsometatarsal (TMT1) angular alignment, (7) second tarsometatarsal (TMT2) angular alignment, (8) TMT1 dorsal step off distance, and (9) TMT2 dorsal step-off distance. In addition, the volume of the Lisfranc joint in the coronal and axial plane were calculated. Among patients with unilateral Lisfranc instability, all WBCT measurements were increased on the injured side as compared to the contralateral uninjured side (p values:  <.001-.008). Volumetric measurements in the coronal and axial plane had a higher sensitivity (92.3%; 91.6%, respectively) and specificity (97.7%; 96.5%, respectively) than 2D and 1D Lisfranc joint measurements, suggesting them to be the most accurate in diagnosing Lisfranc instability. The control group showed no difference in any of the measurements between the two sides. WBCT scan can effectively differentiate between stable and unstable Lisfranc injuries. Lisfranc joint volume measurements demonstrate high sensitivity and specificity, suggesting that this new assessment has high clinical implications for diagnosing subtle Lisfranc instability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.24970DOI Listing
December 2020

Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Lateral Ankle Instability: Review of Our Biomechanical Evidence.

J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2021 Jan;29(1):3-16

From the Foot and Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (Chang, Saengsin), the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Japan (Chang), the Foot & Ankle Service, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital (Morris, Guss, DiGiovanni), the Massachusetts General Hospital, Newton- Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (Morris, Guss, DiGiovanni), the Department of Orthopaedics, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Saengsin), the Foot and Ankle Institute of Grenoble, Centre Ostéo Articulaire des Cèdres, Echirolles (Tourné), and the Sport's Medical Clinic of Bordeaux, Bordeaux-Mérignac, France (Guillo).

Definitive diagnosis and optimal surgical treatment of chronic lateral ankle instability remains controversial. This review distills available biomechanical evidence as it pertains to the clinical assessment, imaging work up, and surgical treatment of lateral ankle instability. Current data suggest that accurate assessment of ligament integrity during physical examination requires the ankle to ideally be held in 16° of plantar flexion when performing the anterior drawer test and 18° of dorsiflexion when performing the talar tilt test, respectively. Stress radiographs are limited by their low sensitivity, and MRI is limited by its static nature. Surgically, both arthroscopic and open repair techniques appear biomechanically equivalent in their ability to restore ankle stability, although sufficient evidence is still lacking for any particular procedure to be considered a superior construct. When performing reconstruction, grafts should be tensioned at 10 N and use of nonabsorbable augmentations lacking viscoelastic creep must factor in the potential for overtensioning. Anatomic lateral ligament surgery provides sufficient biomechanical strength to safely enable immediate postoperative weight bearing if lateral ankle stress is neutralized with a boot. Further research and comparative clinical trials will be necessary to define which of these ever-increasing procedural options actually optimizes patient outcome for chronic lateral ankle instability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5435/JAAOS-D-20-00145DOI Listing
January 2021

Large variation in management of talar osteochondral lesions among foot and ankle surgeons: results from an international survey.

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 2021 May 22;29(5):1593-1603. Epub 2020 Nov 22.

Human Anatomy and Embryology Unit, Department of Pathology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: Surgeons management of osteochondral lesions of the talus (OLT) may be different to the published guidelines because not all treatment recommendations are feasible in every country. This study aimed to assess how OLT are managed worldwide by foot and ankle surgeons.

Methods: A web-based survey was distributed to the members of 21 local and international scientific societies focused on foot and ankle or sports medicine surgery. Answers with a prevalence greater than 75% of respondents were considered a "main tendency", whereas where prevalence exceeded 50% of respondents they were considered a "tendency".

Results: A total of 1804 surgeons from 79 different countries returned the survey. The responses to 19 of 28 questions (68%) regarding management and treatment of OLT achieved a main tendency (> 75%) or a tendency (> 50%). Symptoms reported to be most suspicious for OLT were pain on weight-bearing (WB) and after activity (83%), deep localization of the pain (62%), and any history of trauma (55%). 89% of surgeons routinely obtain an MRI, 72% routinely get WB radiographs, and 50% perform a CT scan. When treated surgically, OLTs are managed in isolation by only 7% of surgeons, and combined with ligament repair or reconstruction by 79%; 67% report simultaneous excision of soft-tissue or bony impingements (64%). For lesions less than 10-15 mm in diameter, bone marrow stimulation (BMS) represents the first choice of treatment for 78% of surgeons (main tendency). No other treatment was recorded as a tendency. For lesions greater than 15 mm in diameter no tendencies were recorded. The BMS represented the most preferred treatment being the first choice of treatment for 41% of surgeons. OLT depth had little influence on treatment choice: 71% of surgeons treating small lesions and 69% treating large lesions would choose the same treatment regardless of whether the lesion had a depth lesser or greater than 5 mm.

Conclusion: The management of OLT by foot and ankle surgeons from around the world remains extremely varied. The main clinical relevance of this study is that it provides updated information with regard to the management of OLT internationally, which could be used by surgeons worldwide in their decision-making and to inform the patient about available surgical options.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-020-06370-1DOI Listing
May 2021

Combination Lower Extremity Nerve Blocks and Their Effect on Postoperative Pain and Opioid Consumption: A Systematic Review.

J Foot Ankle Surg 2021 Jan-Feb;60(1):121-131. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Foot and Ankle Service, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, MA.

The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature examining postoperative outcomes following single site and combined peripheral nerve blocks (PNBs), including (1) sciatic and femoral nerve, (2) popliteal and saphenous nerve, and (3) popliteal and ankle nerve, during elective foot and ankle surgery. We hypothesized that combination blocks would decrease postoperative narcotic consumption and afford more effective postoperative pain control as compared to general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, or single site PNBs. A review of the literature was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched from January 2009 to October 2019. We identified studies by using synonyms for "foot," "ankle" "pain management," "opioid," and "nerve block." Included articles explicitly focused on elective foot and ankle procedures performed under general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, PNB, or with some combination of these techniques. PNB techniques included femoral, adductor canal, sciatic, popliteal, saphenous, and ankle blocks, as well as blocks that combined multiple anatomic sites. Outcomes measured included postoperative narcotic consumption as well as patient-reported efficacy of pain control. Twenty-eight studies encompassing 6703 patients were included. Of the included studies, 57% were randomized controlled trials, 18% were prospective comparison studies, and 25% were retrospective comparison studies. Postoperative opioid consumption and postoperative pain levels were reduced over the first 24 to 48 hours with the use of combined PNBs when compared with single site PNBs, both when used as primary anesthesia or when used in concert with general anesthesia either alone or combined with systemic/local anesthesia in the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery. Studies demonstrated higher reported patient satisfaction of postoperative pain control in patients who received combined PNB. Nine of 14 (64%) studies reported no neurologic related complications with an overall reported rate among all studies ranging from 0% to 41%. Our study identified substantial improvement in postoperative pain levels, postoperative opioid consumption, and patient satisfaction in patients receiving PNB when compared with patients who did not receive PNB. Published data also demonstrated that combination PNB are more effective than single-site PNB for all data points. Notably, the addition of a femoral nerve block to a popliteal nerve block during use of a thigh tourniquet, as well as addition of either saphenous or ankle blockade to popliteal nerve block during use of calf tourniquet, may increase overall block effectiveness. Serious complications including neurologic damage following PNB administration are rare but do exist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.jfas.2020.08.026DOI Listing
September 2020

The Ischemic toe following forefoot surgery: A review of current practices and a proposed approach for management.

Foot Ankle Surg 2020 Oct 3. Epub 2020 Oct 3.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Toe hypoperfusion is a commonly encountered concern following forefoot surgery, yet there is limited clinical guidance available to surgeons to aid in management of this scenario. This work aims to review the etiology, pathophysiology and current strategies to address a perioperative ischemic toe. The authors review various interventions to approach this problem based on available evidence and clinical experience. Interventions to restore perfusion can be loosely based on the ischemic causality they intend to address. Described maneuvers to restore perfusion have, in turn, been designed to either chemically (through topical/local medication) or mechanically (bending/removing K-wires, adjusting repair tension) aid in mitigation of the offending cause. Depending upon the type of surgery performed, which may or may not include instrumentation, a surgeon can implement a series of steps to maximize restoration of toe perfusion. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: V.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fas.2020.09.015DOI Listing
October 2020

Deep deltoid ligament injury is related to rotational instability of the ankle joint: a biomechanical study.

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 2021 May 12;29(5):1577-1583. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Campus Bio-Medico University, Via Alvaro del Portillo 200, 00128, Rome, Trigoria, Italy.

Purpose: In the athletic population, the prevalence of isolated syndesmotic lesions is high. To detect potential instability of the ankle is crucial to define those lesions in need of surgical management. The aim was to define how the extent of tibio-fibular syndesmotic ligament injury influences the overall stability of the ankle joint in a cadaver model.

Methods: Twenty fresh-frozen through knee cadaveric leg specimens were subjected to different simulated syndesmotic ligament lesions. In Group 1 (n = 10), the order of ligament sectioning was: anterior tibio-fibular ligament (ATFL), superficial deltoid ligament (SDL), deep deltoid ligament (DDL), posterior tibio-fibular ligament (PTFL), and progressive sectioning at 10, 50 and 100 mm of the distal interosseous membrane (IOM). In Group 2 (n = 10), the sequence was: ATFL, PITFL, 10 and then 50 mm of the distal IOM, SDL, DDL, and 100 mm of the distal IOM. Diastasis of 4 mm in the coronal or sagittal plane and external rotation of the ankle greater than 20° were considered indicative of instability.

Results: Both coronal and sagittal diastasis exceeded 4 mm with injury patterns characterized by IOM lesions extending beyond 5 cm. External rotation of the ankle exceeded 20° with injury patterns characterized by a DDL lesion.

Conclusion: Coronal and sagittal plane diastases of the tibio-fibular syndesmosis are particularly affected by sequential lesions involving the IOM, whereas increased external rotation of the ankle most depends on DDL. The identification of the specific syndesmotic and deltoid ligament injuries is crucial to understanding which lesions need operative management. The knowledge of which pattern of tibio-fibular syndesmotic ligament injury influences the ankle joint stability is crucial in defining which lesions need for surgical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-020-06308-7DOI Listing
May 2021

Isolated Intermetatarsal Ligament Release as Primary Operative Management for Morton's Neuroma: Short-term Results.

Foot Ankle Spec 2020 Sep 19:1938640020957851. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

Foot and Ankle Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (MAE, GRW, KCW).

Background: Although the precise pathoetiology of Morton's neuroma remains unclear, chronic nerve entrapment from the overlying intermetatarsal ligament (IML) may play a role. Traditional operative management entails neuroma excision but risks unpredictable formation of stump neuroma.

Materials And Methods: Medical records were examined for adult patients who failed at least 3 months of conservative treatment for symptomatic and recalcitrant Morton's neuroma and who then underwent isolated IML decompression without neuroma resection.

Results: A total of 12 patients underwent isolated IML decompression for Morton's neuroma with an average follow-up of 13.5 months. Visual Analog Pain Scale averaged 6.4 ± 1.8 (4-9) preoperatively and decreased to an average of 2 ± 2.1 (0-7) at final follow-up (P = .002). All patients reported significant improvement.

Conclusion: Isolated IML release of chronically symptomatic Morton's neuroma shows promising short-term results regarding pain relief, with no demonstrated risk of recurrent neuroma formation, permanent numbness, or postoperative symptom exacerbation.

Level Of Evidence: .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1938640020957851DOI Listing
September 2020

Fusion Versus Joint-Sparing Reconstruction for Patients With Flexible Flatfoot.

Foot Ankle Spec 2020 Aug 24:1938640020950552. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

School of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (KW).

Aims: Passively correctible, adult-acquired flatfoot deformities (AAFD) are treated with joint-sparing procedures. Questions remain as to the efficacy of such procedures when clinical deformities are severe. In severe deformities, a primary fusion may lead to predictable outcomes, but risks nonunion. We evaluated pre- and postsurgical flexible AAFD patients undergoing joint-sparing or fusion procedures, comparing reoperation and complication rates.

Methods: We identified patients with flexible AAFD between January 1, 2001 and 2016. Exclusion criteria were incomplete medical record, rigid AAFD, and prior flatfoot surgery. Patient demographics, pre- and postsurgical radiographic measurements, surgery performed, and postoperative complications were evaluated by bivariate analysis, comparing joint-sparing versus fusion procedures.

Results: Of 239 patients (255 feet) (mean follow-up 62 ± 50 months), 209 (87%) underwent joint-sparing reconstructions, 30 (12.6%) underwent fusions. Fifty-four (24.1%) feet underwent joint-sparing reconstruction with reoperation versus 11 (35.5%) in fusion patients ( = .17). Radiographic improvement in talonavicular angle, talar first-metatarsal (anteroposterior view), and Meary's angle was higher in fusion patients ( < .001, < .001, and = .003, respectively).

Discussion: More nonunion reoperations among fusion patients were offset by reoperations in joint-sparing patients. Fusion uniquely corrected Meary's angle. Nonunion is of less concern for joint-sparing versus fusion for patients with severe flexible AAFD. Degree of deformity versus advantage of joint motion should improve decision making.

Levels Of Evidence: Level IV: Retrospective case series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1938640020950552DOI Listing
August 2020

The Effect of Gastrocnemius Recession and Tendo-Achilles Lengthening on Adult Acquired Flatfoot Deformity Surgery: A Systematic Review.

J Foot Ankle Surg 2020 Nov - Dec;59(6):1248-1253. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Associate Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the available clinical and radiographic evidence for incorporation of a gastrocnemius recession or tendo-Achilles lengthening into the surgical correction of adult acquired flatfoot deformity. A systematic review of the literature was performed using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Google Scholar. Among the relevant articles, the level of evidence and quality was identified using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies tool. No study explicitly examined whether clinical or radiographic outcomes after adult acquired flatfoot deformity correction are improved when incorporating a gastrocnemius recession or tendo-Achilles lengthening compared with when no such procedure is performed, nor have they directly compared outcomes between 2 procedures. Studies demonstrated an overall improvement in postoperative range of motion and plantar flexion power after gastrocnemius recession, but such findings are hard to separate from the clinical contribution of concomitant corrective procedures to the foot itself. All studies that analyzed anteroposterior talo-calcaneal angle, anteroposterior lateral talo-first metatarsal angle and calcaneal inclination angle revealed improvement of each parameter postoperatively. There were no high-level evidence studies in the literature explicitly quantifying ankle range of motion, plantar flexion power, or radiographic impact of gastrocnemius recession or tendo-Achilles lengthening on adult acquired flatfoot deformity correction. Although gastrocnemius-soleus complex contractures have certainly been demonstrated to coexist with adult acquired flatfoot deformity, support for lengthening procedures is largely based on expert opinion or case series and is difficult to distinguish from the clinical contribution of associated corrective procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.jfas.2020.03.016DOI Listing
August 2020

Arthroscopic coronal plane syndesmotic instability has been over-diagnosed.

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 2021 Jan 25;29(1):310-323. Epub 2020 May 25.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Amsterdam University Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam Zuidoost, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Ankle arthroscopy is widely used for diagnosis of syndesmotic instability, especially in subtle cases. To date, no published article has systematically reviewed the literature in aggregate to understand which instability values should be used intraoperatively. The primary aim was to systematically review the amount of tibiofibular displacement that correlates with syndesmotic instability after a high ankle sprain. A secondary aim is to assess the quality of such research.

Methods: Systematic searches of EMBASE (Ovid) and MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were used.

Inclusion Criteria: studies that arthroscopically evaluated the fibular displacement at various stages of syndesmotic ligament injury. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality using the Anatomical Quality Assessment (AQUA) Tool and methodological index for non-randomized studies (MINORS).

Results: Eight cadaveric studies and three clinical studies were included for review. All studies reported displacement in the coronal plane, four studies reported in the sagittal plane, and one reported findings in the rotational plane. Four cadaveric studies had a similar experimental set up and the weighted mean associated with instability in the coronal plane could be calculated and was 2.9 mm at the anterior portion of the distal tibiofibular joint and 3.4 mm at the posterior portion. Syndesmotic instability in the sagittal plane is less extensively studied, however available data from a cadaveric study suggests thresholds of 2.2 mm of posterior fibular translation when performing an anterior to posterior hook test and 2.6 mm of anterior fibular translation when performing a posterior to anterior hook test.

Conclusions: The results have concluded that the commonly used 2.0 mm threshold value of distal tibiofibular diastasis may lead to overtreatment of syndesmotic instability, and that using threshold values of 2.9 mm measured at the anterior portion of the incisura and 3.4 mm at the posterior portion may represent better cut off values. Given the ready availability of 3 mm probes among standard arthroscopic instrumentation, at the very least surgeons should use 3 mm in lieu of 2 mm probes intraoperatively.

Level Of Evidence: IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-020-06067-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862212PMC
January 2021

Long-term Autograft Harvest Site Pain After Ankle and Hindfoot Arthrodesis.

Foot Ankle Int 2020 08 20;41(8):911-915. Epub 2020 May 20.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Pain following autograft harvest has been studied; however, published literature has typically focused on the iliac crest with follow-up limited to only a few years. It remains unknown if pain continues or improves over time. The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term pain associated with autograft harvest to supplement hindfoot or ankle arthrodesis.

Methods: Subjects in the control arm of a previously conducted trial comparing autograft with a synthetic bone graft for hindfoot or ankle arthrodesis were invited back for a single visit at a minimum of 5 years following their initial surgery. Harvest site, fusion site, and weight-bearing pain were evaluated using a 100-point visual analog scale (VAS). Of the 130 invited subjects, 60 (46.1%) returned for assessment, 58 of whom completed pain assessments.

Results: At a mean follow-up of 9.0 years (range, 7.8-10.5), more than a third (36.6%) of subjects had some level of harvest site pain. Using VAS greater than 20 mm as a threshold of clinical significance, pain remained clinically significant in 5.2% of subjects. There was a significant correlation between harvest site pain and both weight-bearing and fusion site pain. There was not a significant correlation between harvest site pain and volume of graft harvested.

Conclusion: Autograft harvest can result in chronic, clinically significant pain that can last up to 10 years. In the era of shared decision making, this information will help surgeons and patients quantify the risks of chronic pain after arthrodesis procedures that include a secondary operative incision for graft harvest.

Level Of Evidence: Level II, prospective comparative study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100720920846DOI Listing
August 2020

Utility of Volumetric Measurement via Weight-Bearing Computed Tomography Scan to Diagnose Syndesmotic Instability.

Foot Ankle Int 2020 07 17;41(7):859-865. Epub 2020 May 17.

Foot & Ankle Research and Innovation Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Weight-bearing computed tomography (WBCT) allows evaluation of the distal syndesmosis under physiologic load. We hypothesized that WBCT volumetric measurement of the distal syndesmosis would be increased on the injured as compared to the contralateral uninjured side and that these 3-dimensional (3D) calculations would be a more sensitive determinant than 2-dimensional (2D) methodology among patients with syndesmotic instability.

Methods: Twelve patients with unilateral syndesmotic instability requiring operative fixation who underwent preoperative bilateral foot and ankle WBCT were included in the study group. The control group consisted of 24 patients without ankle injury who underwent similar imaging. On WBCT scan, 2D measurements of the syndesmosis joint were first measured 1 cm above the joint line in the axial plane via syndesmotic area and distances between the anterior, middle, and posterior quadrants. Thereafter, comparative 3D volumetric measurements of the syndesmotic joint were also calculated: (1) from the tibial plafond extending until 3 cm proximally, (2) 5 cm proximally, and (3) 10 cm proximally.

Results: In patients with unilateral syndesmotic instability, all 3 weight-bearing volumetric measurements were significantly larger on the injured side as compared to the contralateral, uninjured side ( < .001). In the control group, there was no difference between syndesmotic volumes at any level. Of these 3 anatomic reference points, the 3D measurement spanning from the tibial plafond to a level 5 cm proximally had the highest relative volumetric ratio between the injured and uninjured side, suggesting it is the most sensitive in distinguishing between stable and unstable syndesmotic injury ( < .001). Notably, this 3D volumetric measurement was also more sensitive than 2D measurements ( = .001).

Conclusion: 3D volumetric measurement of the syndesmosis joint appears to be the most effective way to diagnose syndesmotic instability, compared with more traditional 2D syndesmosis measurement.

Level Of Evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100720917682DOI Listing
July 2020

Tibial Stress Fracture Following Ankle Arthrodesis.

Foot Ankle Int 2020 05 17;41(5):556-561. Epub 2020 Feb 17.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Foot and Ankle Service, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: End-stage ankle arthritis is frequently treated with either tibiotalar or tibiotalocalcaneal (TTC) arthrodesis, but the inherent loss of accommodative motion increases mechanical load across the distal tibia. Rarely, patients can go on to develop a stress fracture of the distal tibia without any antecedent traumatic event. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of tibial stress fracture after ankle arthrodesis, highlight any related risk factors, and identify the effectiveness of treatment strategies and their healing potential.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed at 2 large academic medical centers to identify patients who had undergone ankle arthrodesis and subsequently developed a stress fracture of the tibia. Any patient with a tibial stress fracture before ankle arthrodesis, or with a nontibial stress fracture, was excluded from the study.

Results: A total of 15 out of 1046 ankle fusion patients (1.4%) developed a tibial stress fracture at a mean time of 42 ± 82 months (range, 3-300 months) following the index procedure. The index procedure for these 15 patients who went on to subsequently develop stress fractures included isolated ankle arthrodesis (n = 8), ankle arthrodesis after successful subtalar fusion (n = 2), primary TTC arthrodesis (n = 2), and ankle arthrodesis subsequent to successful subtalar fusion with resultant ankle nonunion requiring revision TTC nailing (n = 3). Four patients had undergone fibular osteotomy with subsequent onlay strut fusion, and 5 had undergone complete resection of the lateral malleolus. Stress fracture location was found to be at the level of the fibular osteotomy in 2 patients and at the proximal end of an existing or removed implant in 9. Fourteen of the 15 patients had a nondisplaced stress fracture and were initially treated with immobilization and activity modification. Of these, 3 failed to improve with nonoperative treatment and subsequently underwent operative fixation (intramedullary nail in 2; plate fixation in 1). Only 1 of the 15 patients presented with a displaced fracture and underwent immediate plate fixation. All patients reported pain improvement and were ultimately healed at final follow-up.

Conclusion: In this case series review, we found a 1.4% incidence of tibial stress fracture after ankle arthrodesis, and both hardware transition points and a fibular resection or osteotomy appear to be risk factors. Operative intervention was required in approximately 25% of this population, but the majority of tibial stress fractures following ankle fusion were successfully treated nonoperatively, and ultimately all healed.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV, retrospective case series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100720907595DOI Listing
May 2020

Factors associated with adverse events after distal tibiofibular syndesmosis fixation.

Injury 2020 Feb 9;51(2):542-547. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Division of Foot & Ankle Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital/Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114, United States of America. Electronic address:

Purpose And Hypothesis: Factors associated with adverse outcomes following surgery for syndesmotic instability with associated closed fibula fracture are incompletely understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the pathoetiology and incidence of adverse events after stabilization of syndesmotic instability. In addition, we aimed to identify any patient or surgeon related factors that might be associated with unanticipated outcomes.

Methods: Between January 2000 and May 2015, a total of 849 adult patients who were surgically treated with either screw or suture button fixation for syndesmotic instability with associated fibula fracture without open wound were identified and retrospectively evaluated. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to determine factors associated with any postoperative complication or unplanned reoperation.

Results: Within one year after surgery, 10.7% (91 patients) suffered an infectious complication and 22.0% (187 patients) underwent unplanned reoperation. Factors associated with infectious complications were increased duration of hospital admission (OR: 1.08, p = .014), use of an external fixator device before ORIF (OR: 5.19 p < .001), peripheral vascular disease (OR: 4.33, p = .008), and osteoporosis (OR: 2.71, p = .022). For unplanned hardware removal specifically, patients' BMI below 30 was an associated risk factor. (OR: 1.50, p = .010).

Conclusion: Certain patient groups have an increased risk of adverse events following the use of current surgical fixation methods for stabilizing the syndesmosis. Patients undergoing surgery for syndesmotic instability with associated fibula fracture without open wound should be counseled that up to 1 in 10 suffer an infectious complication and that 1 in 5 require unplanned hardware removal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2019.12.011DOI Listing
February 2020

Arthroscopic Assessment of Syndesmotic Instability in the Sagittal Plane in a Cadaveric Model.

Foot Ankle Int 2020 02 8;41(2):237-243. Epub 2019 Oct 8.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Syndesmotic instability is multidirectional, occurring in the coronal, sagittal, and rotational planes. Despite the multitude of studies examining such instability in the coronal plane, other studies have highlighted that syndesmotic instability may instead be more evident in the sagittal plane. The aim of this study was to arthroscopically assess the degree of syndesmotic ligamentous injury necessary to precipitate fibular translation in the sagittal plane.

Methods: Twenty-one above-knee cadaveric specimens underwent arthroscopic evaluation of the syndesmosis, first with all syndesmotic and ankle ligaments intact and subsequently with sequential sectioning of the anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (AITFL), the interosseous ligament (IOL), the posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (PITFL), and deltoid ligament (DL). In all scenarios, an anterior to posterior (AP) and a posterior to anterior (PA) fibular translation test were performed under a 100-N applied force. AP and PA sagittal plane translation of the distal fibula relative to the fixed tibial incisura was arthroscopically measured.

Results: Compared with the intact ligamentous state, there was no difference in sagittal fibular translation when only 1 or 2 ligaments were transected. After transection of all the syndesmotic ligaments (AITFL, IOL, and PITFL) or after partial transection of the syndesmotic ligaments (AITFL, IOL) alongside the DL, fibular translation in the sagittal plane significantly increased as compared with the intact state ( values ranging from .041 to <.001). The optimal cutoff point to distinguish stable from unstable injuries was equal to 2 mm of fibular translation for the total sum of AP and PA translation (sensitivity 77.5%; specificity 88.9%).

Conclusion: Syndesmotic instability appears in the sagittal plane after injury to all 3 syndesmotic ligaments or after partial syndesmotic injury with concomitant deltoid ligament injury in this cadaveric model. The optimal cutoff point to arthroscopically distinguish stable from unstable injuries was 2 mm of total fibular translation.

Clinical Relevance: These data can help surgeons arthroscopically distinguish between stable syndesmotic injuries and unstable ones that require syndesmotic stabilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100719879673DOI Listing
February 2020

Chronic Disorders of the Peroneal Tendons: Current Concepts Review of the Literature.

J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2019 Aug;27(16):590-598

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Foot and Ankle Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA (Dr. van Dijk and Dr. DiGiovanni), the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Orthopaedic Research Center Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Dr. van Dijk and Dr. Kerkhoffs), the Academic Center for Evidence based Sports Medicine (ACES) (Dr. van Dijk and Dr. Kerkhoffs), the Amsterdam Collaboration on Health and Safety in Sports (ACHSS) (Dr. van Dijk and Dr. Kerkhoffs), the Department of General Surgery, OLVG Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, (Dr. van Dijk) the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Foot and Ankle Service, Brigham and Woman's Hospital, Boston, MA (Dr. Chiodo), and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Foot and Ankle Service, Newton, MA (Dr. DiGiovanni).

Chronic disorders of the peroneal tendons are a common cause of posterolateral ankle pain, including tendinopathy, tendon instability, and chronic tendon tears. They are often preceded by ligamentous instability or predisposing anatomic abnormalities such as a shallow fibular groove or a cavovarus foot deformity. Given the substantial disability associated with chronic peroneal tendon disorders, it is important for orthopaedic surgeons to optimize the diagnostic and treatment strategies of these entities based on contemporary studies. This article reviews both classic and recent scientific evidence regarding the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic peroneal tendon disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00623DOI Listing
August 2019

Evaluation of Syndesmosis Reduction on CT Scan.

Foot Ankle Int 2019 Sep 4;40(9):1087-1093. Epub 2019 Jun 4.

2 Foot and Ankle Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Computed tomography (CT) imaging has traditionally been considered the gold standard for evaluation of syndesmostic reduction, but there is no uniformly accepted method to assess reduction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the intra- and interobserver reliability of published measurement techniques for evaluation of syndesmotic reduction on weightbearing CT scan (WBCT) in hopes of determining which method is best.

Methods: Medical records were reviewed to identify patients who underwent operative stabilization of unilateral syndesmotic injuries. Exclusion criteria included patients younger than 18 years, ipsilateral fractures extending to the tibial plafond, any contralateral ankle fracture or syndesmotic injury, and body mass index greater than 40 kg/m. Twenty eligible patients underwent WBCT evaluation of both ankles at an average of 3 years after syndesmotic fixation. The anatomic accuracy of syndesmotic reduction was evaluated by 2 observers using axial CT images at a level 1 cm proximal to the tibial plafond using 9 previously published radiological measurement techniques. Inter- and intraobserver reliability were assessed for each evaluation method.

Results: The syndesmotic area calculation showed the highest interobserver reliability (0.96), the highest intraobserver reliability for observer 2 (0.97), and the second highest intraobserver reliability for observer 1 (0.92). Fibular rotation had the second highest interobserver reliability in our results (0.84), with intraobserver reliability of 0.91 and 0.8 for first and second observers, respectively. The intraobserver reliability of the side-by-side method was 0.49 and 0.24 for the first and second observers, respectively, and the interobserver reliability was 0.26.

Conclusion: Qualitatively assessing syndesmotic reduction via side-by-side comparison with the uninjured ankle had the least intra- and interobserver reliability and should not be relied on to determine syndesmotic reduction quality. In contradistinction, syndesmotic area calculation demonstrated the highest reliability when evaluating syndesmotic reduction, followed by fibular rotation. Given that syndesmotic area measurement techniques are not readily available on standard image viewers, technologically updating image viewers to allow such calculation would make this approach more accessible in clinical practice.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV, case series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100719849850DOI Listing
September 2019

Opioid Consumption Rate Following Foot and Ankle Surgery.

Foot Ankle Int 2019 Aug 21;40(8):905-913. Epub 2019 May 21.

3 Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA.

Background: The rapid increase in the consumption of prescription opioids has become one of the leading medical, economic, and sociological burdens in North America. In the United States, orthopedic surgery is the fourth leading specialty in the number of opioids prescribed, and the largest among all operative specialties. There is insufficient evidence to guide surgeons about appropriate opioid prescription amounts after orthopedic foot and ankle (F&A) procedures. The aim of this study was to determine the opioid consumption rate after foot and ankle procedures and identify risk factors associated with higher use.

Methods: A total of 535 patients who underwent foot and/or ankle surgery between August 2016 and March 2018 were included in the study. Each patient received a preoperative discussion about postoperative pain and expectations alongside a standardized handout. At the 2-week postoperative visit, the patients self-reported the amount of consumed opioids. Prescription details, number of opioid pills consumed, refill requests, pain-issue-related telephone calls, and additional physician/emergency department visits were documented. Patient demographics, comorbidities, use of regional anesthesia, hospitalization, surgery type/severity, and preoperative opioid use were collected. A total of 244 patients had a sufficiently complete data set for inclusion in the final cohort. Subjects had a mean age of 50 years (±16.3) and a body mass index (BMI) of 29 (±6.1). Sixty-six (27%) patients underwent a soft tissue procedure alone and 178 (73%) underwent a bony procedure.

Results: On average, patients consumed 46.6% of the prescribed pills following a bony procedure and 42.4% after a soft tissue procedure, which resulted in a total of 4496 leftover pills. BMI, procedure type (bony vs soft tissue)/severity, and number of opioids prescribed were positively correlated with elevated consumption rates ( = .008, < .001, < .001, < .001, respectively).

Conclusion: BMI, procedure type, and higher initial pill dispensation correlated with a larger number of consumed pills during the postoperative period. On average, patients took 42.4% of the prescribed opioid after soft tissue procedures and 46.6% after bony procedures, resulting in a significant number of unused pills. Future guidelines are necessary to improve postoperative pain management to prevent narcotic overprescription and minimize the downstream potential for unprescribed community opioid access.

Level Of Evidence: Level III, retrospective case series, analytic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100719848354DOI Listing
August 2019

The Mini C-Arm Sock: A Novel and Simple Technique for Draping to Prevent Contamination and Penetration.

Foot Ankle Spec 2019 Aug 9;12(4):380-381. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program, Boston, Massachusetts (BYC).

The mini C-arm is frequently used in foot and ankle surgery. However, its continuous manipulation introduces potential means of contaminating the sterile surgical field. A simple and effective draping technique of the mini C-arm is described to minimize risk of contamination and sharps penetration that can damage the C-arm. Level V.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1938640019839484DOI Listing
August 2019

Venous Thromboembolism and Bleeding Adverse Events in Lower Leg, Ankle, and Foot Orthopaedic Surgery with and without Anticoagulants.

J Bone Joint Surg Am 2019 Mar;101(6):539-546

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Currently, there is insufficient knowledge about the benefits of anticoagulant use for primary prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and its inherent risk of bleeding adverse events in patients undergoing surgery distal to the knee.

Methods: The study included patients who had undergone an orthopaedic procedure distal to the tibial articular surface when they were 18 years of age or older. Using retrospective information from a tertiary care referral center, we compared patient demographics, clinical findings, diagnostic reports, procedures performed, and the rate of symptomatic VTE and bleeding adverse events between patients who had and those who had not received anticoagulant prophylaxis. Propensity score matching was used to minimize selection bias due to prophylactic treatment allocation.

Results: A total of 5,286 patients who had received anticoagulant prophylaxis for below-the-knee surgery were successfully matched with 5,286 patients who had not received anticoagulant prophylaxis for such surgery. After propensity score matching, the standardized difference between the groups was <0.1 for all baseline characteristics, indicating a negligible difference between the groups. Patients who received anticoagulant prophylaxis had a significantly lower risk of developing a VTE compared with patients who did not (39 patients [0.7%] versus 99 patients [1.9%]), with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.38 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25 to 0.56; p < 0.001). In contradistinction, patients who received anticoagulant prophylaxis had a significantly higher risk of developing a bleeding adverse event than those who did not (115 [2.2%] versus 55 [1.0%]; OR, 2.18 [95% CI, 1.55 to 3.09]; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Anticoagulant prophylaxis reduced the risk of VTE after surgery distal to the tibial articular surface by 3-fold but resulted in a concomitant 2-fold increase in the risk of a bleeding adverse event. Large-scale, prospective studies are necessary to better understand the true incidence of such events, associated patient-specific risk factors, efficacy of various thromboprophylactic regimens, and patient-reported implications of such events.

Level Of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2106/JBJS.18.00346DOI Listing
March 2019

Adverse Events and Their Risk Factors Following Intra-articular Corticosteroid Injections of the Ankle or Subtalar Joint.

Foot Ankle Int 2019 Jun 13;40(6):622-628. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

2 Harvard Medical School, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital/Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Little data exists regarding the incidence of adverse events and their associated risk factors following intra-articular corticosteroid injection of the ankle and subtalar joint. The aim of this study was to determine the complication rate associated with such injections and to identify any predictive risk factors.

Methods: Adult patients who had received an intra-articular ankle or subtalar joint injection between January 2000 and April 2016 at one of 3 regional hospitals (2 level 1 trauma centers and 1 community hospital) were included. Patients with prior intra-articular injection of corticosteroid into the ankle or subtalar joint were excluded. Explanatory variables were sex, age, race, body mass index, diabetes status, tobacco use, presence of fluoroscopic guidance, location of intra-articular injection, and administering physician's years of experience.

Results: Of the 1708 patients included in the final cohort, 99 patients (5.8%) had a total of 104 adverse events within 90 days postinjection. The most prevalent types of adverse events were postinjection flare in 78 patients (4.6% of total cohort, 75% of adverse events) followed by skin reaction in 10 patients (0.6% of total cohort, 9% of adverse events). No infections were noted. Multivariable logistic regression analysis found that intra-articular injection in the subtalar ( P = .004) was independently associated with development of an adverse event. Fluoroscopic guidance was not found to be protective of an adverse event compared to nonguided injections ( P = .476).

Conclusion: The adverse event rate following intra-articular ankle or subtalar joint corticosteroid injection was 5.8%, with postinjection flare being the most common complication. Infections following injection were not reported. Injection into the subtalar joint was independently associated with the development of an adverse event after intra-articular corticosteroid injection, and this was not mitigated by the use of fluoroscopic guidance.

Level Of Evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100719835759DOI Listing
June 2019

Postoperative Complications Following Repair of Acute Achilles Tendon Rupture.

Foot Ankle Int 2019 Jun 27;40(6):679-686. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

2 Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Service, Massachusetts General Hospital - Harvard Medical School, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, MA, USA.

Background: Controversy remains regarding which patients with acute Achilles tendon rupture would best be treated nonoperatively and which might benefit from operative repair. The primary aim of this study was to characterize the overall incidence of-and specific risk factors associated with-postoperative complications that follow operative repair. We also evaluated the specific differences between complications after the use of an open or minimally invasive surgical (MIS) approach.

Methods: Retrospective chart review identified 615 adult patients who underwent operative repair for an acute Achilles tendon rupture between January 1, 2001, and May 1, 2016, at 3 level I trauma centers. Minimum follow-up was 3 months. Patient demographics, comorbidities, injury mechanism, procedural details, and surgeon subspecialty were collected. Assessed complications included wound healing issues, rerupture, hematoma, nerve injury, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.

Results: Seventy-two patients (11.7%) developed a postoperative complication. Risk factors included advancing patient age (odds ratio [OR], 1.04, P = .007), active tobacco use (OR, 3.20, P = .007), and specific subspecialty training (OR, 2.04, P = .046). No difference in overall complication rate was found between the open and MIS approaches (11.6% vs 13.2%, P = .658). A subgroup analysis among orthopedic subspecialties demonstrated that patients treated by trauma surgeons had increased rates of wound complication ( P = .043) and rerupture ( P = .025) compared with those treated by other subspecialties. Patients treated by trauma surgeons were also more likely to be younger or have a body mass index (BMI) > 30, although neither factor was found to be independently predictive for postoperative complications.

Conclusion: Approximately 1 in 9 patients undergoing operative repair of an acute Achilles tendon rupture developed a postoperative complication. Advancing age and active tobacco use were independent risk factors for developing such complications. Differences in subspecialty training also appear to impact complication rates, but the potential reason for this discrepancy remains unclear. As controversy remains regarding which patients who sustain acute Achilles tendon rupture should be treated nonoperatively and which would benefit most from surgical repair, a better understanding of postoperative complication rates and associated risk factors may enhance the decision-making processes in treating these injuries. It is not clear whether MIS techniques are superior to traditional open repair in terms of postoperative complications.

Level Of Evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100719831371DOI Listing
June 2019

Etiology and Treatment Outcomes for Sural Neuroma.

Foot Ankle Int 2019 May 2;40(5):545-552. Epub 2019 Feb 2.

2 Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Neuroma results from disorganized regeneration following nerve injury and may be symptomatic. The aim of this study was to investigate the causes, treatment, and outcomes of operatively treated sural neuromas, and to describe the factors associated with persistent or unchanged postoperative pain symptoms.

Methods: Consecutive patients with surgically treated sural neuromas in a 14-year period were identified using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes ( n = 49), followed by a chart review to collect patient and treatment characteristics. Postoperative pain symptoms were categorized as complete resolution of pain, improvement of pain, no change in pain, or worse pain. The median patient age was 46.5 years (interquartile range [IQR], 39.1-51.3), and median follow-up was 4.0 years (IQR, 1.9-9.2).

Results: Ninety percent of symptomatic sural neuromas developed as a result of previous lower extremity surgery. Initial surgery of sural neuroma led to improvement in pain in 63% of patients, and an additional 8.2% of the patients had improvement after secondary neuroma surgery. Pain relief after diagnostic injection showed a trend toward an association with postoperative pain improvement. Neuroma excision and implantation in muscle was the most common surgical technique used (67%). Four of the 7 patients that underwent a second neuroma operation reported symptom improvement.

Conclusion: Sural neuromas may arise from prior surgery or trauma to the lower extremity. Surgical intervention resulted in either improvement or complete resolution of pain symptoms in 71% of patients, although occasionally more than one procedure was required to obtain symptomatic relief. Preoperative anesthetic injection may help identify patients that benefit from neuroma surgery. Level of Evidence: Level IV, retrospective case series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1071100719828375DOI Listing
May 2019