The treatment of peri-prosthetic joint infection (PJI) of the ankle is not standardised. It is not clear whether an algorithm developed for hip and knee PJI can be used in the management of PJI of the ankle. We evaluated the outcome, at two or more years post-operatively, in 34 patients with PJI of the ankle, identified from a cohort of 511 patients who had undergone total ankle replacement. Their median age was 62.1 years (53.3 to 68.2), and 20 patients were women. Infection was exogenous in 28 (82.4%) and haematogenous in six (17.6%); 19 (55.9%) were acute infections and 15 (44.1%) chronic. Staphylococci were the cause of 24 infections (70.6%). Surgery with retention of one or both components was undertaken in 21 patients (61.8%), both components were replaced in ten (29.4%), and arthrodesis was undertaken in three (8.8%). An infection-free outcome with satisfactory function of the ankle was obtained in 23 patients (67.6%). The best rate of cure followed the exchange of both components (9/10, 90%). In the 21 patients in whom one or both components were retained, four had a relapse of the same infecting organism and three had an infection with another organism. Hence the rate of cure was 66.7% (14 of 21). In these 21 patients, we compared the treatment given to an algorithm developed for the treatment of PJI of the knee and hip. In 17 (80.9%) patients, treatment was not according to the algorithm. Most (11 of 17) had only one criterion against retention of one or both components. In all, ten of 11 patients with severe soft-tissue compromise as a single criterion had a relapse-free survival. We propose that the treatment concept for PJI of the ankle requires adaptation of the grading of quality of the soft tissues.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:772–7.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
This article was primary edited by J. Scott and first proof edited by G. Scott.
- Received October 10, 2013.
- Accepted March 3, 2014.
- ©2014 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery