We write in response to Lawton et al.'s (J Orthop Surg Res 12:76, 2017) important systematic review comparing the outcomes of total ankle replacement (TAR) and ankle arthrodesis (AA) after reviewing the existing literature. Traditionally, AA was the gold standard treatment for ankle osteoarthritis but there is renewed interest in TAR given modern design advantages of preserved ankle motion and gait. We outline some pertinent issues for surgeons to consider when interpreting results from review articles comparing treatment types given the limitations of primary studies. These include significant clinical heterogeneity from the indication for surgery, different treatment type subgroups and from poorly defined clinical outcomes.
J orthop surg res