A Comparison of Wound Complications With Surgical Treatment of Achilles Tendon Conditions Using 2 Surgical Approaches

K. J. Hippensteel, Jeffrey Johnson, Jeremy McCormick, Sandra Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Wound complications are a concern with the open treatment of Achilles tendon conditions. The location of the incision may impact the risk of wound complications because of its relationship to the blood supply to the skin. There is no consensus as to the safest incision location. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the rates of sural nerve injury and wound complications including superficial or deep infections and wound dehiscence between posterior midline and posteromedial surgical incision locations. Methods: 125 patients with Achilles tendon rupture or Achilles tendinopathy were treated with open surgery through a longitudinal posterior midline or posteromedial incision. An L-shaped incision was used in the posteromedial group for cases of insertional repair. Postoperative complications including sural nerve injuries, superficial wound complications, superficial infections, deep wound infections, return to the operating room, and need for soft tissue coverage were recorded and rates were compared between the groups. Results: No significant differences were detected between the posteromedial and posterior incision groups in rates of sural nerve injuries, superficial infection, or deep wound infection. The posterior incision group had significantly fewer wound complications. The wound complications in the posteromedial group primarily occurred when an L-shaped incision was used for insertional repair. No patients in either group required debridement or soft tissue/flap coverage. Conclusion: The posterior incision location had significantly fewer wound complications. The use of an L-shaped incision was likely responsible for the wound complications in this group rather than the location of the incision. The use of a medial incision was not found to decrease the rate of sural nerve injury. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFoot and Ankle Orthopaedics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Achilles tendon
  • complication
  • surgical approach


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