Ankle valgus deformity is associated with conditions such as clubfoot, cerebral palsy, and myelodysplasia. Guided growth strategies using a transphyseal screw provide effective correction of ankle valgus deformity. When correction occurs before skeletal maturity, screw removal is required to prevent overcorrection in the coronal plane. In this study, we reviewed the outcomes of guided growth procedures for correction of ankle valgus and related difficulty with hardware extraction.
A retrospective review of patients with ankle valgus managed with transphyseal screw placement was performed. Clinical and radiographic data, including the lateral distal tibial angle (LDTA), type of screw placed, and time to correction was recorded. At hardware removal, we reviewed elements associated with difficult extraction defined as requiring the use of specialized screw removal/extraction sets or inability to remove the entirety of the screw.
One hundred nineteen patients (189 extremities) with a mean age of 11.7 years at time of screw placement met study inclusion criteria. Following correction of the valgus deformity, hardware removal occurred at an average of 18.4 months after placement of the screw. Preoperatively, the mean LDTA for the entire cohort was 81.3 degrees, and was corrected to a mean LDTA of 91.1 degrees. Complicated hardware removal occurred in 69 (37%) extremities. These 69 extremities had hardware in place an average of 1.8 years compared with an average of 1.4 years in extremities without difficult extraction (P<0.01). Six (9%) screws were unable to be removed in their entirety. Rebound valgus deformity occurred in 5 extremities (3%).
Extraction of transphyseal screws in the correction of ankle valgus can be problematic. Specialized instrumentation was required in approximately one third of cases. Longevity of screw placement may be a factor that affects the ease of extraction. Additional exposure, access to specialized instrumentation, and additional operative time may be required for extraction.
Level of Evidence:
Level IV—case series.