Weightbearing Computed Tomography for Assessment of Foot and Ankle Deformities: The Iowa Experience

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Iowa Orthpaedic Journal


Background: Weightbearing computed tomography (WBCT) is a reliable and precise modality for the measurement and analysis of bone position in the foot and ankle, as well as associated deformities. WBCT to assess three dimensional relationships among bones allowed the development of new measurements, as the Foot and Ankle Offset (FAO), which has high inter and intra-rater reliability. This study reports the University of Iowa's experience utilizing WBCT for the care of foot and ankle patients by describing its utility across different orthopedic diseases in improving diagnostic assessment, aiding surgical planning, and expanding the use for objective clinical follow-up.

Methods: The medical records of consecutive patients with various foot and ankle disorders that underwent WBCT examination as part of the standard of care at a single institution between November 2014 and August 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient factors, including body mass index (BMI), sex, and patient comorbidities were collected. 3D coordinates for calculation of FAO were harvested using the Multiplanar Reconstruction (MPR) views were calculated from the obtained exams. Descriptive statistics were performed with Shapiro-Wilk test and the Anderson-Darling tests.

Results: 1175 feet and ankles (820 patients) had a WBCT performed over the studied 68 months. 53% of the subjects were male and 47% female. 588 of the acquisitions were from the right side (50.04%) and 587 from the left side (49.96%). Diabetes was present in 15.47% of, Rheumatic diagnoses in 4.52% and smoking habits in 44.10% of patients. Mean BMI of the sample was found to be 32.47 (32.03-32.90, 95% CI). The mean Foot and Ankle Offset (FAO) encountered in the study's population was 2.43 (2.05-2.82, 95% CI; min -30.8, max 37.65; median 2.39).

Conclusion: This study contains the largest cohort of WBCTs with accompanied FAO measurements to date, which can aid with establishing a new baseline FAO measurement for multiple pathological conditions. Acquiring WBCTs resulted in a variety of more specific diagnoses for patient with foot and ankle complaints. The ability to utilize WBCT for presurgical planning, the capability to provide a 3D reconstruction of patient anatomy, and its use for assessment of advanced relational foot and ankle measurements, such as FAO, demonstrate how WBCT may serve as a remarkable utility in clinical practice and has become a standard of care in our practice at the University of Iowa.Level of Evidence: IV.





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