Open Versus Arthroscopic Ankle Arthrodesis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a growing health concern that affects approximately 27 million people in the USA and is associated with a $185 billion annual cost burden. Choosing between open surgery and arthroscopic arthrodesis for ankle arthritis is still controversial. This study compared arthroscopic arthrodesis and open surgery by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: For the systematic review, a literature search was conducted in 4 English databases (PubMed, Embase, Medline and the Cochrane Library) from inception to February 2020. Three prospective cohort studies and 7 retrospective cohort studies, enrolling a total of 507 patients with ankle arthritis, were included.

Results: For fusion rate, the pooled data showed a significantly higher rate of fusion during arthroscopic arthrodesis compared with open surgery (odds ratio 0.25, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.57, p = 0.0010). Regarding estimated blood loss, the pooled data showed significantly less blood loss during arthroscopic arthrodesis compared with open surgery (WMD 52.04, 95% CI 14.14 to 89.94, p = 0.007). For tourniquet time, the pooled data showed a shorter tourniquet time during arthroscopic arthrodesis compared with open surgery (WMD 22.68, 95% CI 1.92 to 43.43, p = 0.03). For length of hospital stay, the pooled data showed less hospitalisation time for patients undergoing arthroscopic arthrodesis compared with open surgery (WMD 1.62, 95% CI 0.97 to 2.26, p < 0.00001). The pooled data showed better recovery for the patients who underwent arthroscopic arthrodesis compared with open surgery at 1 year (WMD 14.73, 95% CI 6.66 to 22.80, p = 0.0003).

Conclusion: In conclusion, arthroscopic arthrodesis was associated with a higher fusion rate, smaller estimated blood loss, shorter tourniquet time, and shorter length of hospitalisation than open surgery.

Keywords: Ankle Joint; Arthrodesis; Arthroscopy; Open surgery.