Ponseti clubfoot management: changing surgical trends in Nigeria.

Congenital clubfoot treatment continues to be controversial particularly in a resource-constrained country. Comparative evaluation of clubfoot surgery with Ponseti methods has not been reported in West Africa.To determine the effects of Ponseti techniques on clubfoot surgery frequency and patterns in Nigeria.This was a prospective hospital-based intention-to-treat comparative study of clubfoot managed with Ponseti methods (PCG) and extensive soft tissue surgery (NPCG). The first step was a nonselective double-blind randomization of clubfoot patients into two groups using Excel software in a university teaching hospital setting. The control group was the NPCG patients. The patients’ parents gave informed consent, and the medical research and ethics board approved the study protocol. Biodata was gathered, clubfoot patterns were analyzed, Dimeglio-Bensahel scoring was done, the number of casts applied was tallied, and patterns of surgeries were documented. The cost of care, recurrence and outcomes were evaluated. Kruskal-Wallis analysis and Mann-Whitney U technique were used, and an alpha error of < 0.05 at a CI of 95% were taken to be significant.We randomized 153 clubfeet (in 105 clubfoot patients) into two treatment groups. Fifty NPCG patients (36.2%) underwent manipulation and extensive soft tissue surgery and 55 PCG patients (39.9%) were treated with Ponseti methods. Fifty-two patients of the Ponseti group had no form of surgery (94.5% vs. 32%, p<0.000). Extensive soft tissue surgery was indicated in 17 (34.0%) of the NPCG group, representing 8.9% of the total of 191 major orthopaedic surgeries within the study period. Thirty-five patients (70.0%) from the NPCG group required more than six casts compared to thirteen patients (23.6%) of the PCG (p<0.000). The mean care cost was high within the NPCG when compared to the Ponseti group (48% vs. 14.5%, p<0.000). The Ponseti-treated group had fewer treatment complications (p<0.003), a lower recurrence rate (p<0.000) and satisfactory early outcome (p<0.000).Major clubfoot surgery was not commonly indicated among patients treated with the Ponseti method. The Ponseti clubfoot technique has reduced total care costs, cast utilization, clubfoot surgery frequency and has also changed the patterns of surgery performed for clubfoot in Nigeria.