We investigated the influence of sex on patient-reported outcomes preoperatively and following total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis.
Patients who had undergone total ankle replacement or ankle arthrodesis for the treatment of end-stage ankle arthritis and who had ≥2 years of follow-up were identified from the Canadian Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Prospective Ankle Reconstruction Database. Standard surgical techniques and implantation methods were followed, and STAR, Hintegra, Mobility, and Agility prostheses were used. Data were collected on patient demographics, revisions, secondary procedures, complications, Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale (AOS) scores, Short Form-36 (SF-36) scores, and expectations and satisfaction. Statistical analyses included 3-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple linear regression models controlling for inflammatory arthritis, age, preoperative scores, and surgery type.
The study included 872 patients: 629 who had undergone total ankle replacement (316 men, 313 women) and 243 who had undergone ankle arthrodesis (154 men, 89 women). The mean duration of follow-up (and standard deviation) was 4.9 ± 2.4 and 4.0 ± 1.9 years for the total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis groups, respectively. Men were older than women (p ≤ 0.001). In both the total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis groups, women had higher AOS pain scores (i.e., more pain) than men preoperatively (p < 0.05). Pain was reduced significantly in both sexes postoperatively (p < 0.05), with no significant difference between sexes. In both the total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis groups, women had higher AOS disability scores (i.e., more disability) and lower SF-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores (i.e., worse function) than men both preoperatively and postoperatively (p < 0.001). Postoperatively, AOS disability and SF-36 PCS scores improved significantly from baseline in both sexes (p < 0.001). After controlling for covariates, sex was not a significant predictor of postoperative SF-36 MCS (Mental Component Summary), AOS pain, or AOS disability scores (p > 0.05) but explained 0.5% of variance in SF-36 PCS scores (p = 0.03). Sex did not significantly influence preoperative expectations or postoperative satisfaction. When patients with inflammatory arthritis were excluded, preoperative and postoperative outcome measures, expectations, and satisfaction were similar.
Men and women with end-stage ankle arthritis benefited from total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis with similar magnitudes of improvement. Small differences in pain and function between men and women undergoing total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis mostly disappeared when controlling for potential confounding variables. Both total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis remain good options for men and women with end-stage ankle arthritis.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.