Patients Give High Marks to Ankle Replacement Surgery

STAR procedure for end-stage ankle arthritis improves impairment, pain, function, quality of life

THURSDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who undergo Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR) arthroplasty for treatment of end-stage arthritis report significant intermediate to long-term improvement in pain, function, and quality-of-life scores, according to a study published in the Jan. 4 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

James A. Nunley, M.D., of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues investigated the outcomes of STAR arthroplasty performed in 82 consecutive patients for the treatment of end-stage ankle arthritis. Patients underwent arthroplasty from July 1998 through February 2008 and were assessed preoperatively and at follow-up visits during a median follow-up of 60 months (range, 24 to 108 months). Assessments included a visual analog scale to score pain, the Short Form-36 quality-of-life scale, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot scale and subscales, the Buechel-Pappas pain and function scores, and the ankle range of motion measurement.

The investigators found that, in all outcome categories, there were significant improvements reported by the patients between the preoperative and postoperative assessments. There were marked improvements in self-reported measures of impairments, quality of life, pain, and function.

"Although a total ankle replacement is an involved surgical procedure that is predisposed to complications, the results of our series were encouraging and have added to the current literature suggesting that total ankle replacement is a viable alternative to ankle arthrodesis," the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed financial ties to Small Bone Innovations, which sells the STAR implant and funded the study.

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