Evaluation of a surgical treatment algorithm for neglected clubfoot in low‑resource settings

Publication type: 
Manon Pigeolet, Saiful Imam, Gheorghe Cristian Ninulescu, Shafiul Kabir, Pierre R. Smeesters, Hasib Mahmud

Pigeolet, M. et al. (2021) Evaluation of a surgical treatment algorithm for neglected clubfoot in low‑resource settings. International Orthopaedics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00264-021-05058-6


Purpose :
Idiopathic clubfoot affects approximately 1/1000 alive-born infants, of whom 80–91% are born in low- or middleincome countries (LMICs). This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the morphological, functional, and social outcomes in patients with neglected clubfoot in rural Bangladesh, after receiving surgical treatment.
Methods : Patients received a posteromedial release (PMR) with or without an additional soft tissue intervention (group 1), a PMR with an additional bony intervention (group 2), or a triple arthrodesis (group 3) according to our surgical algorithm. Patients were followed until two year post-intervention. Evaluation was done using a modified International Clubfoot Study Group Outcome evaluation score and the Laaveg-Ponseti score.
Results : Twenty-two patients with 32 neglected clubfeet (ages 2–24 years) received surgical treatment. Nineteen patients with 29 clubfeet attended follow-up. At two year follow-up an excellent, good, or fair Laaveg-Ponseti score was obtained in 81% (group 1), 80% (group 2), and 0% (group 3) of the patients (p value 0.0038). Age at intervention is inversely correlated with the Laaveg-Ponseti score at two year follow-up (p < 0.0001). All patients attended school or work and were able to wear normal shoes.
Conclusion : Our treatment algorithm is in line with other surgical algorithms used in LMICs. Our data reconfirms that excellent results can be obtained with a PMR regardless of age. Our algorithm follows a pragmatic approach that takes into account the reality on the ground in many LMICs. Good functional outcomes can be achieved with PMR for neglected clubfoot. Further research is needed to investigate the possible role of triple arthrodesis.
Keywords : Clubfoot · Developing country · Surgery

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International Orthopaedics