Internal partial forefoot amputation (IPFA) is a treatment option for osteomyelitis and refractory and recurrent chronic ulcers of the forefoot. The aim of our study was to assess the healing rate of chronic ulcers, risk of ulcer recurrence at the same area or re-ulceration at a different area and revision rate in patients treated with IPFA.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
All patients who underwent IPFA of a phalanx and/or metatarsal head and/or sesamoids at our institution because of chronic ulceration of the forefoot and/or osteomyelitis from 2004 to 2014 were included. Information about patient characteristics, ulcer healing, new ulcer occurrence, and revision surgery were collected. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were plotted for new ulcer occurrence and revision surgery.
A total of 102 patients were included (108 operated feet). 55.6% of our patients had diabetes. In 44 cases, an IPFA of a phalanx was performed, in 60 cases a metatarsal head resection and in 4 cases an isolated resection of sesamoids. The mean follow-up was 40.9 months. 91.2% of ulcers healed after a mean period of 1.3 months. In 56 feet (51.9%), a new ulcer occurred: 11 feet (10.2%) had an ulcer in the same area as initially (= ulcer recurrence), in 45 feet (41.7%) the ulcer was localized elsewhere (= re-ulceration). Revision surgery was necessary in 39 feet (36.1%). Only one major amputation and five complete transmetatarsal forefoot amputations were necessary during the follow-up period. Thus, the major amputation rate was 0.9%, and the minor amputation rate on the same ray was 13.9%.
IPFA is a valuable treatment of chronic ulcers of the forefoot. However, new ulceration is a frequent event following this type of surgery. Our results are consistent with the reported re-ulceration rate after conservative treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The number of major amputations is low after IPFA.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Retrospective Case Series Study (Level IV).