Total ankle arthroplasty versus ankle arthrodesis-a comparison of outcomes over the last decade

Cort D. Lawton, Bennet A. Butler, Robert G. Dekker, Adam Prescott, Anish R. Kadakia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Background: The surgical treatment of end-stage tibiotalar arthritis continues to be a controversial topic. Advances in surgical technique and implant design have lead to improved outcomes after both ankle arthrodesis (AA) and total ankle arthroplasty (TAA), yet a clear consensus regarding the most ideal form of treatment is lacking. In this study, the outcomes and complications following AA and TAA are compared in order to improve our understanding and decision-making for care and treatment of symptomatic tibiotalar arthritis. Methods: Studies reporting on outcomes and complications following TAA or AA were obtained for review from the PubMed database between January 2006 and July 2016. Results from studies reporting on a minimum of 200 total ankle arthroplasties or a minimum of 80 ankle arthrodesis procedures were reviewed and pooled for analysis. All studies directly comparing outcomes and complications between TAA and AA were also included for review. Only studies including modern third-generation TAA implants approved for use in the USA (HINTEGRA, STAR, Salto, INBONE) were included. Results: A total of six studies reporting on outcomes following TAA and five reporting on outcomes following AA met inclusion criteria and were included for pooled data analysis. The adjusted overall complication rate was higher for AA (26.9%) compared to TAA (19.7%), with similar findings in the non-revision reoperation rate (12.9% for AA compared to 9.5% for TAA). The adjusted revision reoperation rate for TAA (7.9%) was higher than AA (5.4%). Analysis of results from ten studies directly comparing TAA to AA suggests a more symmetric gait and less impairment on uneven surfaces after TAA. Conclusions: Pooled data analysis demonstrated a higher overall complication rate after AA, but a higher reoperation rate for revision after TAA. Based on the existing literature, the decision to proceed with TAA or AA for end-stage ankle arthritis should be made on an individual patient basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number76
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 18 2017


  • Ankle arthritis
  • Ankle arthrodesis
  • Tibiotalar arthritis
  • Total ankle arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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