Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376580/#:~:text=In%20a%20significantly%20larger%20series,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.

Image Credit: The Doctor Weighs In 

“Future clinical trials that make full use of digital technologies will look very different at each stage of development – and may have a much higher chance of approval at lower cost.”
-ICON Digital Disruption Whitepaper

The future of medicine looks bright! With the advent of various advances in computer based research, future clinical trials will be increasingly successful. With increasing odds in the pre-clinical phases, the downstream effects will be as desired. In a previous blog article, we had expanded on the advents of Organ-On-A-Chip Technology, Blockchain Technology and Quantum Computing as core technologies used in synchrony with statistical tools and mathematical algorithms, in order to filter through data and generate the appropriate models that represented the desired systems accordingly. 

Technologies such as quantum computing have processed significant amounts of process data in the genomic and proteomic realms and have identified new silos of heart failure. Such details would have taken conventional computers years to compute. Quantum modelling and the background algorithms enables drug molecule prediction, as well as their mechanisms of action to be clearly identified and predicted. Artificial Intelligence then facilitates determining the best candidates for actual synthesis. AI utilizes algorithms such as empirical physiology models in order to determine how the lock and key mechanism of the drug and its active site will be matched. 

With the Organ-On-A-Chip technology that was previously discussed, there is a way that organ simulations can be facilitated on silicon chips. With the desired pathways for action able to be simulated in a chemical laboratory, the drugs can then be tested in situ. How the drug will operate in the critical organs can then be determined. In trials, usually the top five drug candidates will be assessed in order to determine the right combination for final drug manufacture. 

With the global nature of industrial and scientific data, global medical records can be assessed by a research entity. With the available data from sources like block chain data, insurance data and electronic health records, clinical trial coordinators can then identify the appropriate candidates for a human trial. 

In a world where data is king, there are several ways that data can be acquired. From a real-time perspective, utilizing real time data generators such as heart monitors linked to an app will be able to facilitate more real-time data that can help researchers identify trends that can assist with improved care. The interesting thing about data, is that the more of it that a research organization collects, the more that human trials can be reduced, in terms of the number of patients to be tested. The ideal candidate can be predicted from preliminary data, and then the actual patients be assessed for site specific reactions to the synthesized test drug. 

Progressing through each stage of the research and development process will be a process that will become seamless with time. With increases in automation, the forecasted success rate for new drug approval will be 60 percent, a six time increase from the current success rate. Drug companies are keen to improve their returns on investment, and look forward to harnessing the best of Industry 4.0 where medical innovation is concerned. Changes in clinical trials will change the entire industry for the best. R&D as a field still has a lot of potential to tap into. From a consulting perspective, the four key advantages for improving the drug development process include: 

  1. Determine the technology needed. In a problem solving methodology frame of mind, an assessment of the existing research system and identifying what operational, IT and AI tools will be needed to optimize the existing operations. Additionally, it will help to identify the current condition for successful product launch. If the current success rate is 6%, what tools will push the organization to 20%. Even a threefold increase will significantly increase the returns. 
  2. Statistical Knowledge – Data is the new oil. Ensure that organization quants are ready and on hand for data processing and model generation. 
  3. Global Network – Data sources and data availability are more valuable with time. Pre-clinical trials will work best if all the pre-work is facilitated. Partnering with global research firms provides the expertise and resources needed to accomplish the task.
  4. Embrace Change – The only thing constant is change! Embrace the fact that new developments are taking place in the field that will help your organization to advance. Early investments will lead to the appropriate outcome in the long term. 

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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