Foot Ankle Spec. 2022 Jul 26:19386400221114488. doi: 10.1177/19386400221114488. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The lateral extensile approach (LEA) is an operative approach for calcaneal fractures. High rates of wound complications have led to alternative approaches such as the sinus tarsi approach to grow in popularity. The LEA affords substantial visualization of the calcaneus. This visualization has never been compared in a quantitative manner with the sinus tarsi approach (STA). We aim to quantify the calcaneal visualization afforded by STA and LEA.
METHODS: Seven pair-matched, fresh-frozen, below-knee cadaver extremities were included. For each pair, one side received an LEA and the other side received an STA.
RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences in the articular surfaces accessible between the 2 approaches. The total calcaneal surface area accessible was 3107.08 mm2 for LEA and 1444.19 mm2 for STA (P = .02). The LEA allowed better exposure to the lateral wall (P = .01) and the dorsal tuberosity of the calcaneus (P = .04).
CONCLUSION: The STA allows for equivalent articular surface exposure when compared with the LEA. Although LEA allows for greater exposure of the lateral wall and dorsal tuberosity, direct visualization of these structures may not warrant the higher risk of wound complications. Surgeons should consider these differences when choosing an operative approach in the treatment of calcaneal fractures.