The Frequency and Severity of Complications in Surgical Treatment of Osteochondral Lesions of the Talus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 6,962 Lesions

Julian J. Hollander, Jari Dahmen, Kaj S. Emanuel, Sjoerd A. S. Stufkens, John G. Kennedy, Gino M. M. J. Kerkhoffs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: The primary aim was to determine and compare the complication rate of different surgical treatment options for osteochondral lesions of the talus (OLTs). The secondary aim was to analyze and compare the severity and types of complications. Design: A literature search was performed in MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE (Ovid), and the Cochrane Library. Methodological quality was assessed using the Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS). Primary outcome was the complication rate per surgical treatment option. Secondary outcomes included the severity (using the Modified Clavien-Dindo-Sink Complication Classification System for Orthopedic Surgery) and types of complications. The primary outcome, the severity, and the sub-analyses were analyzed using a random effects model. A moderator test for subgroup-analysis was used to determine differences. The types of complications were presented as rates. Results: In all, 178 articles from the literature search were included for analysis, comprising 6,962 OLTs with a pooled mean age of 35.5 years and follow-up of 46.3 months. Methodological quality was fair. The overall complication rate was 5% (4%-6%; treatment group effect, P = 0.0015). Analysis resulted in rates from 3% (2%-4%) for matrix-assisted bone marrow stimulation to 15% (5%-35%) for metal implants. Nerve injury was the most observed complication. Conclusions: In 1 out of 20 patients treated surgically for an OLT, a complication occurs. Metal implants have a significantly higher complication rate compared with other treatment modalities. No life-threatening complications were reported.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023
Externally publishedYes

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