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Total Ankle Replacement in a Military Jet Pilot

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INTRODUCTION: A total ankle replacement in a jet pilot after an open, high-energy foot and ankle fracture and dislocation with talar extrusion in a plane crash was carefully evaluated before considering fitness to fly.

CASE REPORT: A 33-yr-old male test pilot of the Italian Air Force was involved in a plane crash and reported an open high-energy fracture/dislocation of the right ankle, with the expulsion of the right talus due to the impact, and other fractures. A titanium replica was inserted inside the ankle. However, the patient suffered from intolerable pain and developed arthritic changes in the cartilage of the tibial plafond. For these reasons, a decision was made to perform a custom-made total ankle replacement.

DISCUSSION: The 2-yr follow-up after the last operation and the evaluation of the pilot’s fitness to fly are reported in this case study. The pilot was assessed fit to fly, including high performance military aircrafts.

Verde P, Guardigli S, Morgagni F, Roberts S, Monopoli D, Scala A. Total ankle replacement in a military jet pilot. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020; 91(7):597–603.

Keywords: air crash; fitness to fly; talus expulsion; total ankle replacement

Document Type: Case Report

Publication date: July 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

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