Aim: This systematic review evaluated the surgical outcomes of various ankle fracture treatment modalities in patients with Diabetes Mellitus as well as the methodological quality of the studies. Methods: For our review, four online databases were searched: PubMed, MEDLINE (Clarivate Analytics), CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health) and Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics). The overall methodological quality of the studies was assessed with the Coleman Methodology Score. Data regarding diabetic ankle fractures were pooled into three outcomes groups for comparison: (1) the standard fixation cohort with management of diabetic ankle fractures using ORIF with small or mini fragment internal fixation techniques following AO principles, (2) the minimally invasive cohort with diabetic ankle fracture management utilizing percutaneous cannulated screws or intramedullary fixation, and (3) the combined construct cohort treated with a combination of ORIF and another construct (transarticular or external fixation). Results: The search strategy identified 2228 potential studies from the four databases and 11 were included in the final review. Compared to the standard fixation cohort, the minimally invasive cohort had increased risk of hardware breakage or migration and the combined constructs cohort had increased risk of hardware breakage or migration, surgical site infection and nonunion. Limb salvage rates were similar for the standard fixation and minimally invasive cohorts; however, the combined constructs cohort had a significantly lower limb salvage rate compared to that of the standard fixation cohort. The mean Coleman Methodology Score indicated the quality of the studies in the review was poor and consistent with its limitations. Discussion: The overall quality of published studies on operative treatment of diabetic ankle fractures is low. Treating diabetic ankle fractures operatively results in a high number of complications regardless of fixation method. However, limb salvage rates remain high overall at 97.9% at a mean follow-up of 21.7 months. To achieve improved limb salvage rates and decrease complications, it is critical is to follow basic AO principles, respect the soft tissue envelope or utilize minimally invasive techniques, and be wary that certain combined constructs may be associated with higher complication rates. Level of evidence: 2.
- Ankle fracture
- Neuropathic arthritis
- Neuropathic osteoarthropathy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine