Foot & Ankle Specialist

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Foot & Ankle Specialist

Foot & Ankle Specialist is a bimonthly publication that started in 2008 and is published by SAGE Publications Ltd and is edited by Gregory C. Berlet, MD and Lowell Weil, Jr. DPM. The publishers describe it as:

Foot & Ankle Specialist (FAS) is a peer-reviewed bi-monthly journal offering clinical information for foot and ankle caregivers. Written and edited by orthopaedic surgeons and podiatrists, FAS offers the latest techniques and advancements in foot and ankle treatment through research reports and reviews, technical perspectives, case studies, and other evidence-based articles

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ISSN: 1938-6400

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Podiatry and Related Journals:
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Foot & Ankle InternationalFoot & Ankle SpecialistFoot & ShoeFoot and Ankle ClinicsFoot and Ankle Quarterly
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Journal of Foot and AnkleJournal of Foot and Ankle ResearchJournal of Korean Foot and Ankle SocietyJournal of the American Podiatric Medicial AssociationJSM Foot & Ankle
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Podiatric Medical ReviewRevista Internacional de Ciencias PodológicasRevista Internacional de PodologiaAdvance Research on Foot & AnklePodosophia
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Current Podiatric Medicine
Other Journals:
Biomechanics JournalsDermatology JournalsDiabetes JournalsOrthopaedic JournalsOrthopaedic Journals
Sports Medicine JournalsTeaching and Learning JournalsWound Management JournalsPhysical Therapy Journals

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Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Stress fractures of the proximal fifth metatarsal are common injuries in elite athletes. Fixation using an intramedullary screw represents the most popular surgery performed for treating these injuries, with excellent results in most cases. However, multiple reports in the literature highlight the possibility of painful hardware, usually related to the presence of the screw head, following intramedullary fixation In this case report, we outline 4 cases of professional athletes who developed lateral-based foot symptoms following complete healing of their surgically treated proximal fifth metatarsal fractures and were found to have significant cuboid edema on magnetic resonance images. We also outline recommendations regarding specific surgical technique considerations aiming to minimize this possible complication.Level of Evidence: Level V: Case report.
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Turf toe is a term used to describe myriad injuries to the metatarsophalangeal complex of the great toe, which have been associated with the introduction of artificial turf surfaces in sport. If not diagnosed early and treated properly, these injuries can result in chronic pain and loss of mobility. Accurate injury grading through physical exam and advanced imaging is essential to guide treatment, thereby minimizing long-term complications and maximizing an athlete’s recovery and return to play.Levels of Evidence: Level V
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. The purpose of this study was to evaluate changes in posterior compartment muscle volume and intramuscular fat content following gastrocnemius recession in people with Achilles tendinopathy (AT). Methods. Eight patients diagnosed with unilateral recalcitrant AT and an isolated gastrocnemius contracture participated in this prospective cohort study. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on both limbs of each participant before and 6 months following an isolated gastrocnemius recession. Involved limb muscle volumes and fat fractions (FFs) of the medial gastrocnemius, lateral gastrocnemius, and soleus muscle were normalized to the uninvolved limb. Preoperative to postoperative comparisons were made with Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Results. Soleus or lateral gastrocnemius muscle volumes or FFs were not significantly different between study time points. A significant difference was found in medial gastrocnemius muscle volume (decrease; P = .012) and FF (increase; P = .017). Conclusion. A major goal of the Strayer gastrocnemius recession, selective lengthening of the posterior compartment while preserving soleus muscle morphology, was supported. The observed changes isolated to the medial gastrocnemius muscle may reduce ankle plantarflexion torque capacity. Study findings may help inform selection of surgical candidates, refine anticipated outcomes, and better direct postoperative rehabilitation following gastrocnemius recession for AT.Levels of Evidence: Level IV: Prospective cohort study
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Although they occur frequently, diabetic toe ulcers (DTUs) are poorly investigated. Long-term antibiotics or toe amputation are the usual indications for complicated DTU treatment. Some authors reported good to excellent results following conservative surgery (CS) for recalcitrant or infected wounds; yet no systematic review has been published. Seven studies, comprising 290 patients with 317 ulcers, met the inclusion criteria of this meta-analysis. Three types of CS were found: resection arthroplasty of the interphalangeal joint, toe-sparing bone excision (internal pedal amputation), and distal Symes amputation. The meta-analytical results were as follows: healing rate of 98.3%, healing time of 6.8 ± 3.9 weeks, recurrence rate of 2.3%, wound dehiscence/recurrent infection rate of 6.4%, skin necrosis rate of 2.8%, and revision surgery rate of 7.4%. Subgroup analyses showed no significant differences in outcomes between recalcitrant ulcers and infected ulcers nor between surgery types. Significance was found in relation to ulcer location; when compared with the hallux, DTU on the lesser toes demonstrated better outcomes. Compared with the reported overall results of standard of care associated with antibiotics or toe amputation of complicated DTUs in the literature, CS seems to be a better option for the treatment of recalcitrant or infected DTUs.Levels of Evidence: Level III
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background: Lesser metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) and plantar plate pathologies are commonly seen forefoot conditions. Traditional rebalancing techniques are commonly used but can have concerning adverse effects. The purpose of this study was to analyze the 1-year outcomes of a new technique consisting of anatomic repair of the plantar plate and collateral ligaments involving lesser MTPJs. Methodology: A retrospective cohort study of 50 consecutive patients treated with anatomic plantar plate and collateral ligament reconstruction were evaluated for lesser MTPJ imbalances between 2013 and 2016. The primary outcome was postoperative digital stability defined as a normal dorsal drawer test and normal paper pull-out test. Secondary outcomes included pre- and postoperative visual analogue scale pain measurements, MTPJ radiographic alignment, and ACFAS Forefoot module scores. Results: All patients had digital instability prior to the surgical intervention. Final follow-up revealed that 92% of patients showed improved digital stability, P = .0005. Multivariate regression found statistically significant improvement in pain reduction via the visual analogue scale of 51.2 mm (P < .0001) and ACFAS Forefoot module scores improved to 92 (P < .0001). The 45 joints with preoperative abnormal transverse plane deformity, had either complete (n = 29) or partial (n = 16) radiographic MTPJ correction. Conclusion: These results suggest that anatomic repair of lesser MTPJ improved digital stability, pain, function and radiographic alignment with greater than one year of follow-up.Levels of Evidence: Level IV: Retrospective cohort study
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. First metatarsophalangeal (MTP) arthrodesis is the “gold standard” treatment for hallux rigidus. Recently, there has been increased interest in new synthetic cartilage implants to preserve joint motion while eradicating pain. With current health care economics, the cost of a treatment is gaining particular importance. This study set out to perform a cost comparison between MTP arthrodesis and synthetic hydrogel implant to determine which treatment modality is more cost-effective based on direct aggregate costs. Study design. Economic and decision analysis. Methods. Studies in the available literature were analyzed to estimate hardware removal rates for MTP fusion and failure rates for a synthetic hydrogel implant and MTP fusion. Costs were determined by examining direct costs at a single institution for implants and data reported in the literature for operating room time. Sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo simulation were performed to examine cost and measurement uncertainty. Results. Assuming a 4.76% MTP arthrodesis revision rate and 7.06% hardware removal rate, the total direct cost of MTP joint arthrodesis was $3632. Using a 9.2% failure rate with subsequent conversion to MTP arthrodesis, the total cost of synthetic hydrogel implant was $4565. Sensitivity analysis revealed that MTP fusion was more cost-effective even if the failure rate increased to 15% and synthetic hydrogel implant failure rate was 0%. The synthetic cartilage implant cost would have to be reduced 28% or approximately 200% the cost of MTP fusion implants to be comparable to MTP arthrodesis. Conclusion. Hallux rigidus treatment with a synthetic hydrogel implant resulted in a higher direct aggregate cost than MTP arthrodesis.Level of Evidence: Level II: Cost analysis
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. Hallux rigidus is the most prevalent arthritic condition of the foot. Treatment of end-stage disease traditionally consists of a first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) arthrodesis; however, the use of a synthetic cartilage implant is becoming more common. With the high prevalence of disease and implementation of new treatment modalities, health care consumers should be aware of the costs associated with management. The purpose of this study was to determine access to the cost and variability in price of first MTPJ arthrodesis and synthetic cartilage implantation. Methods. Forty academic centers were contacted using a standardized patient script. The patient was a 59-year-old female who had failed conservative treatment of hallux rigidus. Each institution was contacted up to 3 times in an attempt to obtain a full bundled operative quote for a first MTPJ arthrodesis and synthetic cartilage implantation. Results. Twenty centers (50%) provided a quote for first MTPJ arthrodesis and 15 centers (38%) provided a quote for synthetic cartilage implantation. Only 14 centers (35%) were able to provide a quote for both procedures. The mean bundled price for MTPJ arthrodesis was $21 767 (range $8417 to $39 265). The mean bundled price for synthetic cartilage implantation was $21 546 (range $4903 to $74 145). There was no statistically significant difference between the bundled price for first MTPJ arthrodesis and synthetic cartilage implantation. Conclusions. There was limited availability of consumer prices for first MTPJ arthrodesis and synthetic implantation, thus impeding health care consumers’ decision making. There was a wide range of quotes for both procedures, indicating potential cost savings.Levels of Evidence: IV, basic science
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Introduction. The aim of the present study was to compare static and dynamic balance among professional athletes in football and basketball. Methods. In this cross-sectional study, 47 professional, male football and basketball players from Pro League in Iran participated. They were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 included 16 participants with history of grade 1 or 2 single ankle sprain within the past 6 months. Group 2 included 17 participants with recurrent ankle sprain. Group 3 included 14 participants without history of ankle sprain. Static and dynamic balance were measured by the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and modified Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), respectively. Results. For the single-leg stance on a firm surface, group 2 scored errors with a high mean value of 3.94 compared with the other 2 groups, and the difference was statistically significant (P = .03). Significant differences in BESS scores are observed on both surfaces across the tandem limb between groups 2 and 3. Conclusion. The measures from the SEBTs may not reflect the balance performance especially in well-trained athletes who have a better balance when performing sport-related skills. However, BESS includes static postures, and it may reflect postural deficits better than dynamic tests in the more experienced athlete.Level of Evidence: Diagnostic, Level IV
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of ankle arthroscopy as a means for diagnosing syndesmotic reduction or malreduction and to determine anatomical landmarks for diagnosis. Methods. Six matched-pair cadavers (n = 12) with through-knee amputations were studied. Component parts of the syndesmosis and distal 10 cm of the interosseous membrane (IOM) were sectioned in each. The 12 specimens were divided into 2 groups: 6 specimens in the in-situ group fixed with suture button technique and 6 specimens in the malreduced group rigidly held with a 3.5-mm screw. Specimens were randomized to undergo diagnostic arthroscopy by 3 fellowship-trained foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons in a blinded fashion. Surgeons were asked to determine if the syndesmosis was reduced or malreduced and provide arthroscopic measurements of their findings. Results. Of 36 arthroscopic evaluations, 34 (94%) were correctly diagnosed. Arthroscopic measurement of 3.5 mm diastasis or greater at the anterior aspect of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis correlated with a posteriorly malreduced fibula. Arthroscopic evaluation of the Anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (AITFL), IOM, Posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (PITFL), lateral fibular gutter, and the tibia/fibula relationship were found to be reliable landmarks in determining syndesmotic reduction. An intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for interrater reliability of 1.00 was determined for each of these landmarks between 2 surgeons (P < .001). The ICCs between 2 surgeons’ measurements and the computed tomography measurements were found to be 0.896 (P value < .001). Conclusions. Ankle arthroscopy is a reliable method to assess syndesmotic relationship when reduced in situ or posteriorly malreduced 10 mm.Levels of Evidence: Level V: Cadaveric
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Between January 1, 2011, and January 1, 2017, an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon performed tibiotalar arthrodesis on 221 patients. Thirty-two were included in this study. Inclusion criteria included patients with at least one risk factor for nonunion and/or malunion, isolated anterior ankle arthrodesis with plate fixation, patients older than 18, and a minimum of 1-year follow-up. Risk factors were avascular necrosis of the talus, severe segmental bone defect, smoking, inflammatory arthropathy, coronal deformity greater than 15°, diabetes mellitus, septic nonunion, failed ankle arthrodesis, and body mass index greater than 35. Functional outcome questionnaires (Ankle Osteoarthritis Score [AOS] and Foot Function Index [FFI]) were collected at the latest visit or by phone. Twenty-six (26/32, 81.2%) patients included in the study had computed tomography images available for review at an average of 3.2 months after surgery. The rate of successful arthrodesis was 93.8% (30/32) at an average of 78 days. Overall, 14 patients (14/32, 43.8%) developed a postoperative complication, including 1 patient that had a delayed nonunion and 2 patients that proceeded to nonunion. Twenty-three patients (23/32, 71.9%) completed the functional outcome questionnaires at an average of 26.8 months. Mean AOS and FFI scores improved significantly postoperatively (P < .001). Sagittal tibiotalar and coronal tibiotalar alignment improved significantly in patients with severe preoperative deformity (P < .001). Tibiotalar arthrodesis with anterior plate fixation in a high-risk cohort results in high union rates and significantly improved functional outcomes.Levels of Evidence: Therapeutic, Level IV: Prospective, comparative trial.
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. Recent studies have raised concerns regarding the usefulness of the visual analogue scale (VAS) as an effective outpatient patient-reported outcome measure (PROM), with disparate scores reported during the same encounter to a nurse versus physician. The purpose of present study was to assess the VAS reported by new patient referrals to 2 different physicians of varying training levels (resident, attending), during the same initial outpatient encounter. Methods. One hundred and one patients treated by a single foot and ankle surgeon were included in the retrospective cohort. Each patient was asked to rate their pain intensity by a resident, and then by the attending surgeon using a standard horizontal VAS 0 to 10, from “no pain” to the “worst pain.” Differences in reported scores were analyzed. Results. Overall, the mean VAS reported to the residents (4.97 ± 2.75) and the attending surgeon (5.02 ± 2.71) were not significantly different (P = .61). On the 11-point scale, the mean difference accounted for only 0.05 points. Conclusion. Taken into consideration with previous studies, the data suggest collection personnel may influence the reported VAS, possibly owing to patients’ preferences and perception of their care. Although the exact reasons remain unclear, our findings lend credence to the previous concerns expressed regarding the subjective nature of the VAS.Levels of Evidence: Level III: Comparative study
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Introduction. The open, lateral sinus tarsi approach is the most commonly used technique for subtalar arthrodesis. In this cadaver study, we measured the maximum joint surface area that could be denuded of cartilage and subchondral bone through this approach. Methods. Nine fresh frozen above-knee specimens were used. The subtalar joint was accessed through a lateral incision from the fibular malleolus distally over the sinus tarsi area to the level of the calcaneocuboid joint. Cartilage was removed from the anterior, middle, and posterior facets of the calcaneus and talus using an osteotome and/or curette. ImageJ was used to calculate the surface areas of undenuded cartilage. Results. No specimens were 100% denuded of cartilage on all 6 measured surfaces. The greatest percentages of unprepared surface area remained on the middle facet of the talus (18.66%) and the middle facet of the calcaneus (14.51%). The anterior facet of the talus was 100% denuded in 6 specimens, while the middle and posterior facets were 100% denuded in 3 specimens. The anterior facet of the calcaneus was also 100% denuded in 6 specimens, while the middle and posterior facets were 100% denuded in 3 and 4 specimens, respectively. The average total unprepared surface area per specimen was 8.67%. Conclusion. The lateral sinus tarsi approach provides adequate denudation of cartilage of the subtalar joint in most cases. Total percentage of unprepared joint surface may range from approximately 2% to 18%. Future clinical studies are warranted to assess whether this technique results in optimal union rates.Levels of Evidence:V, Cadaveric Study
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Volume 12, Issue 2, Page 196-198, April 2019. <br/>
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Volume 12, Issue 2, Page 114-114, April 2019. <br/>
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Volume 12, Issue 2, Page 172-174, April 2019. <br/>
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. Tibiotalocalcaneal (TTC) arthrodesis is a common treatment option for hindfoot arthritis and deformity. Loss of compression over time with statically locked nails may contribute to nonunion. A novel retrograde intramedullary nail with an internal pseudoelastic component has recently been used to provide sustained dynamic compression (SDC). The purpose of this study was to compare fusion rates and time to union between the SDC and nondynamized (ND) nails. Methods. All patients who underwent TTC arthrodesis with an intramedullary nail at a single institution from 2013 to 2017 and who had at least 1 year of follow-up were included in this study. Baseline patient and operative characteristics were collected and compared between the sustained SDC and ND nail groups. The rate of successful fusion, time to union, and complications were compared between the groups. Results. The SDC cohort had a significantly faster time to union by 3.9 months (P = .049). The SDC cohort had a higher fusion rate (78.0%) compared with the ND nail cohort (75.0%), although this was not statistically significant (P = .75). The SDC nail was used significantly (P < .05) more often in patients with known risk factors for nonunion, including female sex, smoking, revision surgery, prior trauma, and patients requiring 3D cage implants for significant bone loss. There were no differences between the groups in terms of complications. Conclusion. The SDC nail has been shown to achieve successful arthrodesis in a population at high risk for nonunion, using less hardware, and at a faster rate than ND nails.Level of Evidence: Level III: Retrospective, comparative study
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. There is no consensus in the literature regarding the necessity of syndesmotic screw removal, but the majority of surgeons prefer screw removal in the operating room. Purpose. The aim of this study is to analyze the safety and cost-effectiveness of syndesmotic screw removal in the clinic. Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed on all acute, traumatic ankle fractures that required syndesmotic stabilization over 5 years at a level 1 trauma center. Radiographs were evaluated for maintenance of syndesmotic reduction. Orthopaedic clinic visits and operating room costs were calculated. Results. Of 269 patients, syndesmotic screws were successfully removed in the clinic in 170 patients and retained in 99 patients. Two superficial infections (1.2%) developed following screw removal. The superficial infection rate was 3.3% (2 of 60) in patients who did not receive antibiotics compared with 0% (0 of 110) in patients who received antibiotics (P = .12). No patient lost syndesmotic reduction after screw removal. Cost savings of $13 829 per patient were achieved by syndesmotic screw removal in the clinic. Conclusion. Our study demonstrates that syndesmotic screw removal in the clinic is safe, does not result in tibiofibular diastasis, is cost-effective, and results in substantial financial savings.Level of Evidence: Level IV
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. This study evaluated when patients’ brake response time (BRT) recovers after right Achilles repair. Methods. Institutional review board–approved prospective study of 60 patients. Assessments included visual analogue scale pain (VAS) score, Achilles Tendon Total Rupture Score (ATRS), and a driver readiness survey. Emergent brake pedal operation was simulated at 6 weeks postoperatively and repeated until patients achieved a passing BRT. Results. Fifty-seven patients completed the study. At 6 weeks, 54 of 59 (91.5%) patients had a passing BRT with a mean of 0.60 seconds (SD 0.08 seconds). Five (8.5%) patients had a failing BRT with a significantly higher mean of 0.95 seconds (SD 0.13 seconds, P = .01). At first testing, all patients were ambulating in a walking boot with removable heel wedges. Those who passed were using significantly fewer wedges (mean 1.9 vs 2.6 wedges, P = .04). Mean VAS pain scores (Passed: 1.1, SD 1.57, vs Failed: 2.8, SD 3.35, P = .32) were not significantly different. The mean ATRS was significantly lower among those who passed (63.7, SD 16.7, vs 85.4, SD 11.1, P = .01. Three patients repeated testing at a mean 7.3 weeks (range 6.7-8). All achieved passing times (mean 0.68 seconds, range 0.55 to 0.77 seconds). The driving readiness survey was 100% sensitive but 31.3% specific for passing BRT. Its positive predictive value was 80%, and its negative predictive value was 100%. Conclusion. BRT normalizes around 6 to 7 weeks after open right Achilles tendon repair. The ATRS and driver readiness questionnaire corresponded to achieving a passing BRT.Levels of Evidence: Prognostic Level II: Prospective Cohort Study
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background: Many syndesmosis screw fixations do not achieve success at the first attempt. Currently, there are no data available to evaluate revision of syndesmosis screw failure. Methods: A total of 160 consecutive patients who underwent syndesmosis screw fixation from 2014 to 2016 were reviewed. The current study focuses on 13 of 160 patients who underwent revision surgery and analyzes reasons, methods, and outcomes of syndesmotic screw revisions. Results: Thirteen out of 160 patients had revision surgeries. Incidence of recurrent diastasis was 92.3%. Seven out of 19 screws had broken. Two patients had screw loosening, 9 patients underwent early weightbearing, 1 patient developed osteomyelitis, 1 patient developed osteoarthritis, and 1 patient had fibular nonunion. Eleven patients underwent removal, 3 patients underwent clamp reduction, and 4 patients underwent fibular osteotomy. Six patients experienced good reduction with 0/10 pain, 3 patients experienced good reduction with some pain, 1 patient experienced poor reduction; 1 patient developed osteomyelitis and subsequent 7/10 pain; 1 patient underwent fusion with 5/10 pain, and 1 patient experienced medial malleolar mal-union with 3/10 pain. Conclusion: It was found that the main reason for syndesmosis revision was reoccurring diastasis. Most patients ultimately experienced good reduction and were able to ambulate, despite some residual pain.Levels of Evidence: Level IV: Case series
Foot & Ankle Specialist, Ahead of Print. <br/>Background. Treatment options after failed total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) are limited. This study reports midterm outcomes and radiographic results in a single-surgeon group of patients who have undergone ankle arthrodesis with intramedullary nail fixation and structural allograft augmentation following failed TAA. Methods. A retrospective review on patients who underwent failed TAA revision with structural femoral head allograft and intramedullary tibiotalocalcaneal (TTC) nail fixation was completed. Foot Function Index (FFI), American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) outcome scores, and radiographs were obtained at each visit with 5-year follow-up. Results. Five patients were followed to an average of 5.2 years (range 4.7-5.6). Enrollment FFI was 34.82 (range 8.82-75.88); at midterm follow-up it was 20.42 (range 0-35.38). Enrollment AOFAS scores averaged 66.6 (range 61-77); at midterm follow-up it was 70.33 (range 54-88). Radiographs showed union in 4 of 5 patients at enrollment and 2 of 3 patients at midterm. Conclusions. Utilization of TTC fusion with femoral head allograft is a salvage technique that can produce a functional limb salvage. Our results show continued improvement in patient-reported outcomes, with preservation of limb length and reasonable union rate.Levels of Evidence: Therapeutic, Level II: Prospective, comparative trial.

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