Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the mid-term clinical and radiological results of a novel arthroscopic fixation technique for primary osteochondral defects (OCD) of the talus, named the lift, drill, fill and fix (LDFF) technique. Methods: Twenty-seven ankles (25 patients) underwent an arthroscopic LDFF procedure for primary fixable talar OCDs. The mean follow-up was 27 months (SD 5). Pre- and post-operative clinical assessments were prospectively performed by measuring the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) of pain in/at rest, walking and when running. Additionally, the Foot and Ankle Outcome Score (FAOS) and the Short Form-36 (SF-36) were used to assess clinical outcome. The patients were radiologically assessed by means of computed tomography (CT) scans pre-operatively and 1 year post-operatively. Results: The mean NRS during running significantly improved from 7.8 pre-operatively to 2.9 post-operatively (p = 0.006), the NRS during walking from 5.7 to 2.0 (p < 0.001) and the NRS in rest from 2.3 to 1.2 (p = 0.015). The median FAOS at final follow-up was 86 for pain, 63 for other symptoms, 95 for activities of daily living, 70 for sport and 53 for quality of life. A pre- and post-operative score comparison was available for 16 patients, and improved significantly in most subscores. The SF-36 physical component scale significantly improved from 42.9 to 50.1. Of the CT scans at 1 year after surgery, 81% showed a flush subchondral bone plate and 92% of OCDs showed union. Conclusion: Arthroscopic LDFF of a fixable primary talar OCD results in excellent improvement of clinical outcomes. The radiological follow-up confirms that fusion of the fragment is feasible in 92%. This technique could be regarded as the new gold standard for the orthopedic surgeon comfortable with arthroscopic procedures. Level of evidence: Prospective case series, therapeutic level IV.
Lambers, K. T. A., Dahmen, J., Reilingh, M. L., van Bergen, C. J. A., Stufkens, S. A. S., & Kerkhoffs, G. M. M. J. (2020). Arthroscopic lift, drill, fill and fix (LDFF) is an effective treatment option for primary talar osteochondral defects. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 28(1), 141-147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-019-05687-w