Complications from ankle arthrodesis in diabetes-related Charcot foot syndrome

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Introduction: Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) is an inflammatory arthropathy associated with bony destruction, dislocation, and deformity in patients with neuropathy. Surgical procedures involving foot and ankle in CN for deformity correction have been shown to result in high rate of complications. The purpose of this study was to compare post-operative outcomes and assess odds of complication after ankle arthrodesis among patients with diabetes-related Charcot neuroarthropathy, non-Charcot patients with diabetes, and non-Charcot patients without diabetes. Methods: The PearlDiver Patient Records Database was queried for patients who underwent ankle fusion and maintained at least one year of post-operative follow-up. The following post-operative complications were assessed among groups: overall nonunion and amputation, one-year nonunion, amputation, and hardware removal, 90-day and 30-day surgical site infection, dehiscence, acute kidney injury, and pneumonia, and 90-day myocardial infarction and deep vein thrombosis. The odds and prevalence of each complication for each group were assessed and compared. Results: Higher rates of amputation (OR 3.43, CI 2.89–4.06), hardware removal (OR 1.63, CI 1.45–1.83), wound dehiscence (OR 1.75, CI 1.44–2.13), acute kidney injury (OR 2.87, CI 2.32–3.54), pneumonia (OR 1.53, CI 1.13–2.07), and surgical site infection (OR 2.46, CI 2.12–2.85), were observed in patients with diabetes-related CN compared to non-Charcot patients with diabetes. In patients without CN, higher rates of nonunion (OR 1.38, CI 1.19–1.61), amputation (OR 2.26, CI 1.74–2.93), surgical site infection (OR 1.57, CI 1.30–1.90), and acute kidney injury (OR 1.57, CI 1.18–2.09) were observed in patients with diabetes compared to patients without diabetes. Time to hardware removal was significantly shorter in diabetes-related Charcot patients compared to non-Charcot patients without diabetes (368.0 ± 446.7 vs 438.5 ± 487.5 days, P < 0.001). Conclusion: Patients with diabetes demonstrated increased odds of nonunion, amputation, surgical site infection, and acute kidney injury compared to patients without diabetes. In the population of patients with diabetes, odds of most of these complications were further increased with the addition of Charcot diagnosis compared to patients without diabetes. Other local and multisystemic medical conditions, including pneumonia and wound dehiscence, also demonstrated increased odds in patients of CN. Level of evidence: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108071
JournalJournal of Diabetes and Its Complications
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Ankle fusion
  • Charcot neuroarthropathy
  • Complications
  • Diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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