Limb salvage in Charcot foot and ankle osteomyelitis: combined use single stage/double stage of arthrodesis and external fixation.Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Nov; 30(11):1065-70.FA
Charcot neuroarthropathy of the foot/ankle is a devastating complication of diabetes. Along with neuroarthropathy, osteomyelitis can occur which can result in amputation. This prospective study evaluated a limb salvage procedure as an alternative to amputation through surgical treatment of osteomyelitis of the midfoot or the ankle and stabilization with external fixation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Forty-five patients with Charcot arthropathy and osteomyelitis underwent debridement and attempted fusion with an external fixator. Chart and radiograph review was performed to assess the success of the fusion and eradication of infection.
Out of 45 patients, 39 patients healed using emergent surgery to drain an acute manifestation of the infection while maintaining the fixation for an average of 25.7 weeks. Two patients were treated with intramedullary nail in a subsequent surgical procedure. In four patients, the infection could not be controlled, therefore a major amputation was carried out.
For select patients, external fixation proved to be a reasonable alternative to below-knee amputation.