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Preoperative Patient Care
Operative Techniques

Preoperative Plan


Radiographic templating

  • Use radiographs and CT scan to map out placement of implants


Execute surgical walkthrough

  • describe steps of the procedure verbally to the attending prior to the start of the case
  • describe potential complications and steps to avoid them

Room Preparation


Surgical instrumentation

  • microsagittal saw
  • osteotomes
  • curets
  • 7.3 mm cannulated screws
  • 4.0 or 4.5 mm cannulated screws
  • plating systems (optional)


Room setup and equipment

  • standard OR table


Patient positioning

  • supine with foot at the edge of the table
  • place sandbag under the ipsilateral hip to internally rotate the foot

Superficial Dissection


Mark out the anatomy and the incision

  • start incision 10 proximal to the tip of the fibula
  • extend incision distally down the shaft of the fibula to the base of the fourth metatarsal
  • internervous plane is between the peroneal muscles and the extensors


Incise retinaculum

  • incise the superior peroneal retinaculum posteriorly
  • mobilize the peroneal tendons
  • protect the sural and SPN
  • make sure to maintain full thickness skin flaps


Remove periosteum

  • use osteotomes to strip the periosteum of the fiibula anteriorly

Deep Dissection


Extend the incision medially

  • expose the distal tibia, tibiotalar articulation posterior facet of the subtalar joint and the sinus tarsi


Strip the periosteum off the fibula

  • use an osteotome to strip the anterior fibula and strip the posterior fibula slightly

Joint Preparation


Expose the anterior joint

  • use a periosteal elevator to strip the <span class="pi3bx6" id="pi3bx6_12">soft tissue</span> from the distal end of the tibia and the talar neck to the medial malleolus


Perform fibular osteotomy

  • use an <span class="pi3bx6" id="pi3bx6_5">oscillating saw</span> to create a fibular osteotomy approximately 4 to 6 cm proximal to the tip of the lateral malleolus
  • debride the syndesmosis cartilage soft tissue and cortical bone


Harvest fibular bone graft

  • make a sagittal cut of the fibula to resect the medial fibular fragment
  • morselize and use for <span class="pi3bx6" id="pi3bx6_6">autologous bone</span> graft


Remove ankle capsule

  • use sharp dissection through the lateral incision to elevate the scarred ankle capsule and strip soft tissue attachments from the joint both anteriorly and posteriorly
  • place retractors to expose the ankle mortise and protect soft tissues while the bone cuts are made
  • manually denude the tibiotalar joint of cartilage and subchondral bone with curettes and or osteotomes

Arthrodesis Preparation


Place foot in proper alignment for arthrodesis

  • place talus in position so that the forefoot is in 5 to 10 degrees of external rotation
  • place hindfoot into 5 degrees of valgus and 0 degrees of dorsiflexion
  • make a cut through the dome of the talus that is parallel to the distal tibia cut
  • resect 3 to 5 mm of bone
  • bring the joint together and check the alignment


Expose the medial malleolus

  • make a 6 cm longitudinal incision along the anterior third of the medial malleolus
  • dissect through the subcutaneous tissue
  • make sure to maintain full thickness flaps
  • remove the ankle capsule and periosteum
  • remove any residual cartilage and sclerotic bone


Create vascular channels

  • drill joint surface until bleeding bone is obtained
  • obtain the desired alignment



Place guidepins

  • secure joint by placing to guidepins for large partially threaded cannulated screws
  • start at the base of the talar neck and direct guidepin proximally in the posteromedial direction and lateral to the anterior process
  • start the second guidepin just above the posterior facet and anterior to the lateral process in the postermedial direction parallel to the first guidepin
  • make sure not to violate the subtalar joint with the guidepins


Check alignment

  • use fluouroscopy to check the alignment and placement of the guidepins


Place cannulated screws

  • remove guidepins


Use fluoroscopy to check reduction and screw placement


Treat Intraoperative and Immediate Postoperative Complications


Step 1 of treating intraoperative complications


Step 2 of treating intraoperative complications


Wound Closure


Irrigation and hemostasis

  • ensure hemostasis using cautery


Superficial closure

  • use 3-0 nylon horizontal mattress sutures for skin


Deep closure

  • use 2-0 vicryl for the subcutaneous layer


Dressing and immediate mobilization

  • place in well padded non-weightbearing short leg plaster cast
  • split in postop to allow for swelling
Postoperative Patient Care
Private Note

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