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Papers of the Week

2021 Nov 26

Int J Environ Res Public Health



Staged Joint Arthrodesis in the Treatment of Severe Septic Ankle Arthritis Sequelae: A Case Report.


Hong Y-C, Jung K-J, Chang H-J, Yeo E-D, Lee H-S, Won S-H, Ji J-Y, Lee D-W, Yoo I-D, Yoon S-J, Kim W-J
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Nov 26; 18(23).
PMID: 34886200.


Septic ankle arthritis is a devastating clinical entity with high risks of morbidity and mortality. Prompt treatment is necessary because delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to irreversible damage that may occur on the articular surface, resulting in cartilage erosion, infective synovitis, osteomyelitis, joint deformity, and pain and joint dysfunction. An aggressive surgical approach is required when a joint infection causes severe limb-threatening arthritis. A 58-year-old woman visited our clinic with increasing pain in the right ankle, which had been present for the previous 2 months. She complained of discomfort in daily life due to deformity of the ankle; limping; and severe pain in the ankle even after walking a little. The patient reported a history of right-ankle injury while exiting a bus in her early 20s. Plain radiographs of the right ankle joint revealed that the medial malleolus was nearly absent in the right ankle joint on the anteroposterior view, and severe varus deformity was observed with osteoarthritic changes because of joint space destruction. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed diffuse synovial thickening of the destroyed tibiotalar joint with joint effusion. Hybrid 99mTc white blood cell single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography showed increased uptake along the soft tissue around the ankle joint; uptake was generally low in the talocrural and subtalar joints. A two-stage operation was performed to remove the infected lesions and correct the deformity, thus enabling limb salvage. The patient was nearly asymptomatic at the 6-month follow-up, with no discomfort in her daily life and nearly normal ability to carry out full functional activities. She had no complications or recurrent symptoms at the 1-year follow-up. We have described a rare case of a staged limb salvage procedure in a patient with chronic septic arthritis sequelae. For patients with severe joint deformity because of septic ankle sequelae, staged arthrodesis is a reliable method to remove infected lesions, solve soft tissue problems, correct deformities, and maintain leg length.