Is prophylactic diabetic foot surgery dangerous?

David G. Armstrong, Lawrence A. Lavery, Sharone Stern, Lawrence B. Harkless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Any treatment rendered to the deformed, insensate foot should be undertaken with the prime intentions of reducing the potential for future limb-threatening events and allowing the patient to continue as an ambulatory, productive member of society. The purpose of this article is to compare morbidity and outcomes of elective foot surgery among diabetics and nondiabetics with isolated toe deformities. We compared the prevalence of infection, wound complication, and recurrence of ulcers in 31 diabetics and 33 nondiabetics. All of these patients received a single proximal interphalangeal joint arthroplasty with a mean follow-up of 3 years (range, 12 to 61 months). The diabetic group was divided into two subgroups: 1) insensate with deformity, but no history of ulceration, and 2) insensate with deformity and a previous history of ulceration. Diabetics with a history of ulceration were more likely to experience a postoperative infection (14.3%) than neuropathic diabetic patients with no history of ulceration (0%) and nondiabetic subjects (0%) (p = 0.04, CI = 3.1 to 8.6). There was not a significant difference in prevalence of dehiscence among diabetic and nondiabetic groups (16.1% versus 9.1%, respectively, CI = 0.4 to 8.8). The long-term outcomes after prophylactic surgery at a site of previous ulceration were uniformly good, with 96.3% of patients remaining ulcer-free a mean of 3 years postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-589
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • complications
  • diabetes
  • prophylactic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Is prophylactic diabetic foot surgery dangerous?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this