Combat-related bridge synostosis versus traditional transtibial amputation: comparison of military-specific outcomes

Benjamin F. Plucknette, Chad A. Krueger, Jessica C. Rivera, Joseph C. Wenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The aim of our study was to determine military-specific outcomes for transtibial amputations of US Service members using either the traditional technique (Burgess) or the Ertl technique. All US Service members sustaining transtibial, combat-related amputation from September 2001 through July 2011 were reviewed. Amputation type, mechanism of injury, time interval to amputation, age, sex, branch of service, rank, force, nature, and injury severity score were recorded. Outcomes were determined by analyzing military-specific medical review results, to include the following: Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Office (PEBLO) rating (0–100), PEBLO outcome (permanent retirement, temporary disability retirement, separation without benefits, continuation of active duty, or fit for redeployment), and the rate of redeployment. Amputation type (Ertl vs. Burgess) was determined by reviewing postoperative radiographs and radiology reports. Data from all of the above categories were compared for both Ertl and Burgess amputees. Of 512 subjects identified, 478 had radiographs or radiology reports distinguishing between Ertl or Burgess transtibial amputation. A total of 406 subjects underwent the Burgess procedure, and 72 subjects underwent the Ertl procedure. There was not a significant difference between the two groups in review board rating (p = 0.858), review board outcome (p = 0.102), or ability to deploy (p = 0.106); however, subjects that underwent the Ertl procedure remained on active duty at a significantly higher rate (p = 0.021). There is a higher rate of remaining on active duty using the Ertl technique. This study suggests that there is an improvement in functional outcome with the Ertl technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalStrategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Amputation
  • Burgess
  • Combat related
  • Ertl
  • Military specific
  • Outcomes
  • Outcomes
  • Transtibial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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