Intra-Operative 3-Dimensional Imaging (O-arm) in Foot and Ankle Trauma Surgery: Report of 2 Cases and Review of the Literature

The Open Orthopaedics Journal 30 Sept 2019 LETTER DOI: 10.2174/1874325001913010189



Intraoperative two-dimensional (2D) fluoroscopy is the standard imaging modality available to orthopaedic surgeons worldwide. It is well-accepted, however, multiplanar 3 dimensional (3D) CT scanning is superior to 2D imaging for visualising joint surfaces and is now a fundamental feature of the pre-operative planning of intra-articular fractures.


We present two cases in which the use of 3D intraoperative imaging and the O-arm® (Medtronic, Minneapolis, USA) led to immediate intraoperative revision to optimise fixation and articular congruity. A review of the current literature is also provided.


During the trial period of the O-arm at our major trauma centre, intra-operative imaging was used in the lower limb trauma setting. The O-arm was used intra-operatively in a comminuted pilon fracture and a displaced talus fracture. We recorded all the intra-operative events, including quality of reduction, implant positioning and operation time. Each patient was followed-up for 12 months post-operation and was finally assessed with x-rays and the AOFAS score.


In both the cases, either fracture reduction or the implant position/usage that was observed with 2D fluoroscopy was revised following a 3D intra-operative scan. No postoperative complications were noted and the healing process was uneventful. X-rays at the final follow-up were excellent and acceptable for the talus and pilon fracture, respectively, with corresponding clinical results and AOFAS score.


Although frequently used in spinal surgery, to the best of our knowledge, the use of intra-operative 3D techniques in lower limb trauma is sparse and sporadically reported. We present our cases in which the most current innovative imaging techniques influenced intra-operative outcomes without compromising patient safety. We feel that this is a real example of how innovation can positively influence patient care.

Keywords: Ankle fractures, Fluoroscopy, CT-imaging, Reduction, O-arm, Intra-Operative Three-Dimensional Imaging.
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