The surgical treatment of open pilon fractures has a high complication rate especially in diabetic patients. In this article, we present a case of an infected tibial non-union after an open reduction and internal fixation in a diabetic patient, treated with Ilizarov external fixation combined with Papineau technique. Combined use of external fixation and Papineau technique can provide an alternative option for the treatment of septic pseudoarthrosis of the distal tibia.
tibia; infection; non-union; Ilizarov; external fixation; Papineau technique
Patients with critical lower limb ischemia without patent pedal arteries cannot be treated by the conventional arterial reconstruction. Venous arterialization has been suggested to improve limb salvage in this subgroup of patients but has not gained wide acceptance. We report our early experience after implementing deep and superficial venous arterialization of the lower limb.
Materials and methods
Ten patients with critical ischemia and without crural or pedal arteries available for conventional bypass surgery or angioplasty were treated with distal venous arterialization. Inflow was from the most distal unobstructed segment. Run-off was the dorsal pedal venous arch (n=5), the dorsal pedal venous arch and a concomitant vein of the posterior tibial artery (n=3), or the dorsal pedal venous arch and a concomitant vein of the common plantar artery (n=2) depending on the location of the ischemic lesion. Venous valves were destroyed using antegrade valvulotomes, guide wires, knob needles, or retrograde valvulotomes via an extra incision.
Seven of the operated limbs were amputated after 23 (1–256) days (median [range]). The main reasons for amputation were lack of healing of either the original wound, of incisional wounds on the foot, or persisting pain at rest. In three cases, the bypass was open at the time of amputation. Two patients experienced complete wound healing after 231 and 342 days, respectively. By the end of follow-up, the last patient was ambulating with slow wound healing but without pain 309 days after surgery.
Venous arterialization may be used as a treatment of otherwise unsalveable limbs. The success rate is, however, limited. Technical optimization of the technique is warranted.
critical limb ischemia; venous arterialization; revascularization; amputation prevention; wound healing
Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) is a serious complication of diabetes mellitus that can cause major morbidity including limb amputation. Since it was first described in 1883, and attributed to diabetes mellitus in 1936, the diagnosis of CN has been very challenging even for the experienced practitioners. Imaging plays a central role in the early and accurate diagnosis of CN, and in distinction of CN from osteomyelitis. Conventional radiography, computed tomography, nuclear medicine scintigraphy, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography are the imaging techniques currently in use for the evaluation of CN but modalities other than magnetic resonance imaging appeared to be complementary. This study focuses on imaging findings of acute and chronic neuropathic osteoarthropathy in diabetes and discrimination of infected vs. non-infected neuropathic osteoarthropathy.
diabetes mellitus; complications; diabetic foot; Charcot foot; diagnostic imaging
Both osteomyelitis and Charcot neuro-osteoarthropathy (CN) are potentially limb-threatening complications of diabetic neuropathy, but they require quite different treatments. Almost all bone infections in the diabetic foot originate from an infected foot ulcer while diabetic osteoarthropathy is a non-infectious process in which peripheral neuropathy plays the critical role. Differentiating between diabetic foot osteomyelitis and CN requires careful evaluation of the patient, including the medical history, physical examination, selected laboratory findings, and imaging studies. Based on available studies, we review the approaches to the diagnostic differentiation of osteomyelitis from CN of the foot in diabetic patients.
diabetic foot; osteomyelitis; Charcot neuro-osteoarthropathy
One of the most common gold standards for the treatment of Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) in the early Eichenholtz stages I and II is immobilization with the total contact casting and lower limb offloading. However, the total amount of offloading is still debatable.
This study evaluates the clinical and radiographic findings in the treatment of early stages of CN (Eichenholtz stages I and II) with a walker boot and immediate total weight-bearing status.
Twenty-two patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and CN of Eichenholtz stages I and II were selected for non-operative treatment. All patients were educated about their condition, and full weight bearing was allowed as tolerated. Patients were monitored on a fortnightly basis in the earlier stages, with clinical examination, temperature measurement, and standardized weight-bearing radiographs. Their American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) scores were determined before and after the treatment protocol.
No cutaneous ulcerations or infections were observed in the evaluated cases. The mean measured angles at the beginning and end of the study, although showing relative increase, did not present a statistically significant difference (p > 0.05). Mean AOFAS scores showed a statistically significant improvement by the end of the study (p < 0.005).
The treatment of early stages of CN (Eichenholtz stages I and II) with emphasis on walker boot and immediate weight bearing has shown a good functional outcome, non-progressive deformity on radiographic assessment, and promising results as a safe treatment option.
Charcot neuroarthropathy; classification; ulceration; diabetes; weight bearing
To evaluate the functional outcome, morbidity, and viability of foot salvage in diabetic patients.
Materials and methods
This prospective case series was conducted from March 2007 to December 2012 at the department of surgery Pakistan Ordnance Factories Hospital, Wah Cantt, Pakistan. 123 males and 26 female patients were included in the study. All the patients were treated after getting admitted in the hospital and wounds were managed with daily dressings, nursing care and debridement of necrotic tissue with adequate antibiotic coverage.
In total, 149 patients (mean age: 56±7.52 years) with 171 amputations were included in the study. The mean duration of diabetes mellitus (DM) was 9±4.43 years. Ninety-seven percent of the patients were diagnosed with type 2 DM. Wound debridement was performed under general anesthesia in 48 (33.2%) patients, whereas local anesthesia was used for the rest of the patients after having good glycemic control and improvement in general health. The most common pathogen isolated from the infected wounds was Staphylococcus aureus in approximately 46% cases. Regarding the types of amputation, partial toe amputation was performed in 21 (12.2%) cases, second-toe amputation in 60 (35%) cases, hallux amputation in 41 (24%) cases, multiple toe amputations in 29 (17%) cases, bilateral feet involvement was observed in 16 (9.3%) cases, and transmetatarsal amputation was performed in 4 (2.3%) cases. The wounds healed well except in 19 cases where amputation had to be revised to a more proximal level. Thirty-nine patients died during the study period: 3 died of wound-related complications and 36 died of systemic complications.
With the ever-increasing epidemic of DM, the number of patients with diabetic foot ulcers has also significantly risen. Early surgical management with good glycemic control and foot care with close monitoring can decrease amputations and thus foot salvage can be successfully achieved.
diabetic foot; limb salvage; glycemic control; amputations; infections
Most cases of lower extremity limb loss in the United States occur among people with diabetes who have a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). These DFUs and the associated limb loss that may occur lead to excess healthcare costs and have a large negative impact on mobility, psychosocial well-being, and quality of life. The strategies for DFU prevention and management are evolving, but the implementation of these prevention and management strategies remains challenging. Barriers to implementation include poor access to primary medical care; patient beliefs and lack of adherence to medical advice; delays in DFU recognition; limited healthcare resources and practice heterogeneity of specialists. Herein, we review the contemporary outcomes of DFU prevention and management to provide a framework for prioritizing quality improvement efforts within a resource-limited healthcare environment.
foot ulcer; diabetes; peripheral vascular disease; diabetic neuropathy; delivery of healthcare; physician's practice patterns
This paper presents a review of the current literature discussing topics of Charcot osteoarthropathy, osteomyelitis, diagnosing osteomyelitis, antibiotic management of osteomyelitis, and treatment strategies for management of Charcot osteoarthropathy with concurrent osteomyelitis.
Charcot foot; osteomyelitis; diabetes mellitus; infection; neuropathy
As the prevalence of diabetes mellitus continues to rise, innovative medical and surgical treatment options have increased dramatically to address diabetic-related foot and ankle complications. Among the most challenging clinical case scenarios is Charcot neuroarthropathy associated with soft tissue loss and/or osteomyelitis. In this review article, the authors present a review of the most common utilizations of negative-pressure wound therapy as an adjunctive therapy or combined with plastic surgery as it relates to the surgical management of diabetic Charcot foot and ankle wounds.
negative-pressure wound therapy; Charcot foot; diabetes mellitus; neuropathy; plastic surgery; external fixation
There are several applications of electrical stimulation described in medical literature to accelerate wound healing and improve cutaneous perfusion. This is a simple technique that could be incorporated as an adjunctive therapy in plastic surgery. The objective of this review was to evaluate the results of randomized clinical trials that use electrical stimulation for wound healing.
We identified 21 randomized clinical trials that used electrical stimulation for wound healing. We did not include five studies with treatment groups with less than eight subjects.
Electrical stimulation was associated with faster wound area reduction or a higher proportion of wounds that healed in 14 out of 16 wound randomized clinical trials. The type of electrical stimulation, waveform, and duration of therapy vary in the literature.
Electrical stimulation has been shown to accelerate wound healing and increase cutaneous perfusion in human studies. Electrical stimulation is an adjunctive therapy that is underutilized in plastic surgery and could improve flap and graft survival, accelerate postoperative recovery, and decrease necrosis following foot reconstruction.
diabetic foot ulcer; electric stimulation therapy; treatment outcome; perfusion; infection
The dorsal aspect of the hallux is often cited as the anatomic location of choice for vibration testing in the feet of diabetic patients. To validate this preference, vibration tests were performed and compared at the hallux and 5th metatarsal head in diabetic patients with established neuropathy.
Twenty-eight neuropathic, diabetic patients and 17 non-neuropathic, non-diabetic patients underwent timed vibration testing (TVT) with a novel 128 Hz electronic tuning fork (ETF) at the hallux and 5th metatarsal head.
TVT values in the feet of diabetic patients were found to be reduced at both locations compared to controls. Unexpectedly, these values were significantly lower at the hallux (P<0.001) compared to the 5th metatarsal head.
This study confirms the hallux as the most appropriate location for vibration testing and implies relative sensory sparing at the 5th metatarsal head, a finding not previously reported in diabetic patients.
diabetic foot; diabetes mellitus; diabetic polyneuropathy; diabetes-related complications; neurological examination; sural nerve
Podiatrists form an integral part of the multidisciplinary foot team in the treatment of diabetic foot–related complications. A set of unforeseen circumstances within our specialist diabetes foot service in the United Kingdom caused a loss of 50% of our non-operative podiatry team for almost 7 months during 2010. Some of this time was filled by non-specialist community non-operative podiatrists.
We assessed the economic impact of this loss by examining data for the 5 years prior to this 7-month interruption, and for the 2 years after ‘normal service’ was resumed.
Our data show that the loss of the non-operative podiatrists led to a significant rise in the numbers of admissions into hospital, and hospital length of stay also increased. At our institution a single bed day cost is £275. During the time that the numbers of specialist non-operative podiatry staff were depleted, and for up to 6 months after they returned to normal activities, the extra costs increased by just less than £90,000. The number of people admitted directly from specialist vascular and orthopaedic clinics is likely to have increased due to the lack of capacity to manage them in the diabetic foot clinic. Our data were unable to assess these individuals and did not look at the costs saved from avoiding surgery. Thus the actual costs incurred are likely to be higher.
Our data suggest that specialist non-operative podiatrists involved in the treatment of the diabetic foot may prevent unwarranted hospital admission and increased hospitalisation rates by providing skilled assessment and care in the outpatient clinical settings.
diabetes; foot clinic; podiatrist; economic value; multidisciplinary team
Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) is considered a major complication in diabetes mellitus (DM), and it is estimated that 1% of diabetic patients may develop this complication. Simultaneous kidney–pancreas transplantation (SKPT) is one of the most effective therapies for patients with type 1 DM and end-stage diabetic nephropathy. Some cases with a Charcot-modified clinical presentation during the postoperative convalescence period after SKPT have been described. The clinical presentation may condition severe destructive lesions, and good practices include systematic follow-up. Based on the cases described, SKPT is one more entity that might lead to CN ‘foot-at-risk’. The aim of this article is to describe two cases of neuropathic arthropathy with rapid progression in the short term after SKPT.
arthropathy; neurogenic; Charcot foot; transplant; kidney; pancreas
Charcot arthropathy of the foot is a rare but devastating complication of diabetes that remains to be a challenging issue for the foot and ankle surgeons. Charcot foot fails to be an obvious diagnostic option that comes to mind, even in a pathognomonic clinical appearance. The rarity of the disorder, more common pathologies that mimic the condition, and the self-limiting prognosis deviate the clinician from the right diagnosis. The clinical challenges in the diagnosis of Charcot foot require in-depth investigations of its enigmatic nature to establish useful guidelines. Yet, this goal seems to be beyond reach, without a holistic view of the immense literature concerning the pathophysiology of the disorder. The primary objective of this article is to put together and review the recent advancements about the etiology and intrinsic mechanisms of diabetic Charcot foot.
Charcot foot; pathophysiology; diabetes mellitus; neuropathy; neuropeptides
Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) is a severe joint disease in the foot and ankle that can result in fracture, permanent deformity, and limb loss. It is a serious and potentially limb-threatening lower-extremity late complication of diabetes mellitus. The aim of this manuscript was to evaluate modern concepts of chronic CN through a review of the available literature and to integrate a perspective of management from the authors’ extensive experience.
Charcot foot; diabetes mellitus; total contact cast; arthrodesis; diabetic neuropathy
Minor amputations in diabetic patients with foot complications have been well studied in the literature but controversy still remains as to what constitutes successful or non-successful limb salvage. In addition, there is a lack of consensus on the definition of a minor or distal amputation and a major or proximal amputation for the diabetic population. In this article, the authors review the existing literature to evaluate the efficacy of minor amputations in this selected group of patients in terms of diabetic limb salvage and also propose several definitions regarding diabetic foot amputations.
diabetic foot infections; amputations; diabetic neuropathy
Reduced traumatic and posttraumatic (nociceptive) pain is a key feature of diabetic neuropathy. Underlying condition is a gradual degeneration of endings of pain nerves (A-delta fibers and C-fibers), which operate as receivers of noxious stimuli (nociceptors). Hence, the absence of A-delta fiber mediated sharp pain (“first” pain), and of C-fiber mediated dull pain (“second” pain). However, patients with diabetic neuropathy and acute Charcot foot often experience deep dull aching in the Charcot foot while walking on it.
To create a unifying hypothesis on the kind of pain in an acute Charcot foot.
Absence of punctuate (pinprick) pain perception at the sole of a Charcot foot, as was shown recently, likely corresponds to vanished intraepidermal A-delta fiber endings. C-fiber nociceptors are reduced, according to histopathology studies. Both types of fibers contribute to posttraumatic hyperalgesia at the skin level, as studies show. Their deficiencies likely impact on posttraumatic hyperalgesia at the skin level and, probably, also at the skeletal level.
It is hypothesised that deep dull aching in an acute diabetic Charcot foot may represent faulty posttraumatic hyperalgesia involving cutaneous and skeletal tissues.
pain perception; diabetic neuropathy; Charcot neuroarthropathy
In people with diabetes mellitus, the Charcot foot is a specific manifestation of peripheral neuropathy that may involve autonomic neuropathy with high blood flow to the foot, leading to increased bone resorption. It may also involve peripheral somatic polyneuropathy with loss of protective sensation and high risk of unrecognized acute or chronic minor trauma. In both cases, there is excess local inflammatory response to foot injury, resulting in local osteoporosis. In the Charcot foot, the acute and chronic phases have been described. The former is characterized by local erythema, edema, and marked temperature elevation, while pain is not a prominent symptom. In the latter, signs of inflammation gradually recede and deformities may develop, increasing the risk of foot ulceration. The most common anatomical classification describes five patterns, according to the localization of bone and joint pathology. This review article aims to provide a brief overview of the diabetic Charcot foot in terms of etiology, pathophysiology, and classification.
Charcot foot; classification; diabetes mellitus; diabetic foot; neuropathy; osteoarthropathy
The management of chronic diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) poses a great challenge to the treating physician and surgeon. The aim of this study was to identify the risk factors, clinical presentation, and outcomes associated with chronic DFU>6 months’ duration.
This prospective study was performed in Jabir Abu Eliz Diabetic Centre (JADC), Khartoum, Sudan. A total of 108 patients who had DFU for >6 months were included. Recorded data included patient's demographics, DFU presentation, associated comorbidities, and outcomes. DFU description included size, depth, protective sensation, perfusion, and presence of infection. Comorbidities assessed included eye impairment, renal and heart disease. All patients received necessary local wound care with sharp debridement of any concomitant necrotic and infected tissues and off-loading with appropriate shoe gear and therapeutic devices.
The mean age of the studied patients was 56+SD 9 years with a male to female ratio of 3:3.3. The mean duration of DFU was 18±SD 17 months (ranging from 6 to 84 months). Ulcer healing was significantly associated with off-loading, mainly the use of total contact cast (TCC) (p=0.013). Non-healing ulcerations were significantly associated with longer duration of the chronic DFU>12 months (p=0.002), smoking (p=0.000), poor glycemic control as evidenced by an elevated HbA1c (>7%), large size (mean SD 8+4 cm), increased depth (p<0.001), presence of skin callus (p<0.000), impaired limb perfusion (p=0.001), impaired protective sensation as measured by 10 g monofilament (p=0.002), neuroischemia (p=0.002), and Charcot neuroarthropathy (p=0.017).
Risk factors associated with chronic DFU of>6 months’ duration included the presentation of an ulcer with increased size and depth, with associated skin callus and neuroischemia, in a diabetic patient with a history of smoking and increased HbA1c >7%. Off-loading mainly with the use of TCC is an effective method of managing long-standing DFU.
diabetic foot; ulcer; amputation; neuropathy; ischemia
A diabetic foot or lower extremity amputation may be exacerbated by or related to the smoking habits and history of the patient.
Patients and methods
Of the 112 diabetic patients in this retrospective study, 46 were non-smokers and 66 were smokers. The smokers were further categorized into patients who: 1) did not cease smoking; 2) ceased in the immediate post-operative period but resumed within 3 months; and 3) ceased up to and at the 3-month post-operative period. The patients were also divided by their amputation level of forefoot, midfoot/rearfoot, and proximal leg.
Smoking diabetic patients underwent more amputations, as well as more proximal amputations than those who did not smoke. The higher amount of smoking in pack years followed an increasing trend of more proximal amputations as well.
Neither the amputation level nor the amputation itself was enough motivation for the patients to participate in smoking cessation.
diabetes; smoking; amputation; foot; lower extremity
Foot ulcerations complicated by infection are the major cause of limb loss in people with diabetes. This is especially true in those patients with severe sepsis. Determining whether to amputate or attempt to salvage a limb often requires in depth evaluation of each individual patient's physical, mental, and socioeconomic status. The current report presents and juxtaposes two similar patients, admitted to the same service at the same time with severe diabetic foot infections complicated by sepsis. We describe in detail the similarities and differences in the clinical presentation, extent of infection, etiology, and socioeconomic concerns that ultimately led to divergent clinical decisions regarding the choices of attempting diabetic limb salvage versus primary amputation and prompt rehabilitation.
diabetic foot; Charcot arthropathy; diabetic limb salvage; diabetic foot infection; amputation
Poor arterial inflow continues to be a major contributing factor in the failure to heal diabetic foot wounds. Options for revascularization have significantly increased with the development of sophisticated endovascular techniques. However, the application of this technology is variable due to relatively little prospective, randomized data on newer techniques. Further, multiple specialties are capable of performing endovascular interventions and proper referral can be difficult. This article will review the basics of application of endovascular intervention in the diabetic patient with arterial disease and provide a broad understanding of the literature behind the decision-making on appropriate therapy.
endovascular; peripheral artery disease; revascularization; diabetic foot
Diabetic foot infections are a high risk for lower extremity amputation in patients with dense peripheral neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease. When they present with concomitant osteomyelitis, it poses a great challenge to the surgical and medical teams with continuing debates regarding the treatment strategy. A cohort prospective study conducted between October 2005 and October 2010 included 330 diabetic patients with osteomyelitis mainly involving the forefoot (study group) and 1,808 patients without foot osteomyelitis (control group). Diagnosis of osteomyelitis was based on probing to bone test with bone cultures for microbiological studies and/or repeated plain radiographic findings. Surgical treatment included debridement, sequestrectomy, resections of metatarsal and digital bones, or toe amputation. Antibiotics were started as empirical and modified according to the final culture and sensitivities for all patients. Patients were followed for at least 1 year after wound healing. The mean age of the study group was 56.7 years (SD = 11.4) compared to the control group of 56.3 years (SD = 12.1), while the male to female ratio was 3:1. At initial presentation, 82.1% (n=271) of the study group had an ulcer penetrating the bone or joint level. The most common pathogens were Staphylococcus aureus (33.3%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (32.2%), and Escherichia coli (22.2%) with an almost similar pattern in the control group. In the study group, wound healing occurred in less than 6 months in 73% of patients compared to 89.9% in the control group. In the study group, 52 patients (15.8%) had a major lower extremity amputation versus 61 in the control group (3.4%) (P=0.001). During the postoperative follow-up visits, 12.1% of patients in each group developed wound recurrence. In conclusion, combined surgical and medical treatment for diabetic foot osteomyelitis can achieve acceptable limb salvage rate and also reduce the duration of time to healing along with the duration of antibiotic treatment and wound recurrence rate.
diabetic foot; osteomyelitis; ulcer; amputation; neuropathy
Peripheral vascular disease and/or diabetic neuropathy represent one of the main etiologies for the development of lower leg and/or diabetic foot ulcerations, and especially after acute trauma or chronic mechanical stress. The reconstruction of such wounds is challenging due to the paucity of soft tissue resources in this region. Various procedures including orthobiologics, skin grafting (SG) with or without negative pressure wound therapy and local random flaps have been used with varying degrees of success to cover diabetic lower leg or foot ulcerations. Other methods include: local or regional muscle and fasciocutaneous flaps, free muscle and fasciocutaneous, or perforator flaps, which also have varying degrees of success.
Patients and methods
This article reviews 25 propeller perforator flaps (PPF) which were performed in 24 diabetic patients with acute and chronic wounds involving the foot and/or lower leg. These patients were admitted beween 2008 and 2011. Fifteen PPF were based on perforators from the peroneal artery, nine from the posterior tibial artery, and one from the anterior tibial artery.
A primary healing rate (96%) was obtained in 18 (72%) cases. Revisional surgery and SG for skin necrosis was performed in six (24%) cases with one complete loss of the flap (4%) which led to a lower extremity amputation.
The purpose of this article is to review the use of PPF as an effective method for soft tissue coverage of the diabetic lower extremity and/or foot. In well-controlled diabetic patients that present with at least one permeable artery in the affected lower leg, the use of PPF may provide an alternative option for soft tissue reconstruction of acute and chronic diabetic wounds.
diabetes mellitus; ulcers; lower leg; foot; propeller perforator flaps
A diabetic foot infection is usually the result of a pre-existing foot ulceration and is the leading cause of lower extremity amputation in patients with diabetes. It is widely accepted that diabetic foot infections may be challenging to treat for several reasons. The devastating effects of hyperglycemia on host defense, ischemia, multi-drug resistant bacteria and spreading of infection through the foot may complicate the course of diabetic foot infections. Understanding the ways in which infections spread through the diabetic foot is a pivotal factor in order to decide the best approach for the patient's treatment. The ways in which infections spread can be explained by the anatomical division of the foot into compartments, the tendons included in the compartments, the initial location of the point of entry of the infection and the type of infection that the patient has. The aim of this paper is to further comment on the existed and proposed anatomical principles of the spread of infection through the foot in patients with diabetes.
diabetic foot; infection; osteomyelitis; anatomy; amputation