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Periprosthetic Fractures in Total Ankle Replacement: Classification System and Treatment Algorithm
Sebastian Manegold, MD1; Norbert P. Haas, MD1; Serafim Tsitsilonis, MD, MSc1; Alexander Springer, MD1; Sven Märdian, MD1; Klaus-Dieter Schaser, MD1
1 Section for Foot and Ankle Surgery, Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin 13353, Germany. E-mail address for S. Manegold: sebastian.manegold@charite.de
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Investigation performed at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 May 01;95(9):815-820. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00572
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Despite progress in implant design and surgical technique, the reported number of periprosthetic ankle fractures following total ankle joint replacement continues to increase. A treatment-oriented classification of these fractures has not yet been reported. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence, cause, and location of periprosthetic fractures and the stability of the associated prosthetic components after total ankle replacement and to develop a method of classification.


Data regarding 503 total ankle replacements with a mean follow-up of 14.7 months were reviewed. The prevalence, location, and possible cause of the fractures as well as prosthesis stability were analyzed and a systematic method of classification based on these factors was developed.


Twenty-one patients (4.2%) with a periprosthetic fracture were identified. The fracture was intraoperative (Type 1) in eleven patients (2.2%) and postoperative in the remaining ten (2.0%). Two of the latter fractures were traumatic (Type 2) and eight were stress fractures (Type 3). Two-thirds (fourteen) of the twenty-one fractures occurred in the medial malleolus.


The prevalence of periprosthetic fractures following primary total ankle replacement was relatively low. We propose a classification system for these fractures that is based on more than 500 cases. We believe that this classification can facilitate therapeutic decision-making, as it allows for differential analysis of the cause and guides the choice among operative and nonoperative treatment options.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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