Scientific Article   |    
Posterior Ankle Arthroscopy An Anatomic Study
David F. Sitler, MD; Annunziato Amendola, MD; Christopher S. Bailey, MD; Lisa M.F. Thain, MD; Alison Spouge, MD
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Investigation performed at Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, 3M Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

David F. Sitler, MD
Navy Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, CA 92134-5000. E-mail address: dsitler@nmcsd.med.navy.mil

Annunziato Amendola, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail address: ned-amendola@uiowa.edu

Christopher S. Bailey, MD
Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, 3M Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada

Lisa M.F. Thain, MD
Alison Spouge, MD
Department of Radiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada

In support of their research or preparation of this manuscript, one or more of the authors received a Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation Research Grant. None of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

A video supplement to this article is available from the Video Journal of Orthopaedics. A video clip is available at the JBJS web site, www.jbjs.org. The Video Journal of Orthopaedics can be contacted at (805) 962-3410, web site: www.vjortho.com.

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J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002 May 01;84(5):763-769
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Background: Ankle arthroscopy has generally been performed with use of anterior portals with the patient in the supine position. Little has been published on ankle arthroscopy performed with use of posterior portals, particularly with the patient in the prone position. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the relative safety and efficacy of ankle arthroscopy with use of posterior portals with the limb in the prone position.

Methods: Thirteen fresh-frozen cadaver specimens were used. Posterolateral and posteromedial portals were established. Arthroscopy was performed, and the extent of the talar dome that could be visualized was marked. Four-millimeter plastic cannulae were filled with oil and were placed in the portals for use as reference landmarks on magnetic resonance imaging studies. The proximity of the portal cannulae to the adjacent structures was measured on standard magnetic resonance images and then during careful dissection. The distances measured by dissection were compared with the measurements made on magnetic resonance images.

Results: An average of 54% (range, 42% to 73%) of the talar dome could be visualized. The average distance between a cannula and adjacent anatomic structures after dissection was 3.2 mm (range, 0 to 8.9 mm) to the sural nerve, 4.8 mm (range, 0 to 11.0 mm) to the small saphenous vein, 6.4 mm (range, 0 to 16.2 mm) to the tibial nerve, 9.6 mm (range, 2.4 to 20.1 mm) to the posterior tibial artery, 17 mm (range, 19 to 31 mm) to the medial calcaneal nerve, and 2.7 mm (range, 0 to 11.2 mm) to the flexor hallucis longus tendon. The magnetic resonance images demonstrated very similar distances except in the case of the distance between the posteromedial cannula and the tibial nerve, which often was difficult to specifically identify on magnetic resonance imaging studies.

Conclusions: The findings of the present cadaveric study suggest that, with the patient in the prone position, arthroscopic equipment may be introduced into the posterior aspect of the ankle without gross injury to the posterior neurovascular structures. Limited clinical trials should be carried out to confirm this finding.

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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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