How many screws are necessary for subtalar fusion? A retrospective study.Foot Ankle Surg 2019FA
Biomechanical studies have shown a higher compressive force and higher torsional stiffness for fixation with three screws compared to two screws. However, clinical data to compare these fixation techniques is still lacking.
A retrospective analysis of 113 patients was performed, who underwent isolated subtalar fusion between January 2006 and April 2018.
Revision arthrodesis was required in 8% (n=6/36) for 3-screw-fixation and 38% (n=35/77) for 2-screw-fixation. For 3-screw-fixation, non-union, was observed in 14% (n=5/36) compared to 35% (n=27/77) in 2-screw fixation. Non-union (p=.025) and revision arthrodesis (p=.034) were significantly more frequent in patients with 2 screws. A body mass index ≥30kg/m2 (p=.04, OR=2.6,95%CI:1.1-6.3), prior ankle-fusion (p=.017,OR=4.4,95%CI:1.3-14.5) and diabetes mellitus (p=.04,OR=4.9,95%CI:1.1-17.8) were associated with a higher rate of revision arthrodesis.
Our findings suggest that successful subtalar fusion is more reliably achieved with use of three screws. However, future prospective studies will be necessary to further specify this recommendation.