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Diabet Foot Ankle. 2014 Jun 27;5. doi: 10.3402/dfa.v5.24649. eCollection 2014.

Complication rates in diabetics with first metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis.

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  • 1New Mexico Bone and Joint Institute, Alamogordo, NM, USA.
  • 2Cactus Foot and Ankle, Chandler, AZ, USA.
  • 3American Foundation of Lower Extremity Surgery and Research, Alamogordo, NM, USA.



First metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) arthrodesis has been an effective surgical entity when indicated, but a range of severe to mild complications can occur from this procedure. Patients with diabetes mellitus have an increased risk in surgical complications, most commonly associated with soft tissue and bone healing, when compared to non-diabetic patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the complication rates of first MTPJ arthrodesis in diabetic patients and compare them to the existing complication rates for the procedure.


A retrospective chart review was done on 76 diabetic patients, from June 2002 to August 2012. Thirty-two males and 44 females were included in the study. The authors evaluated many variables that could impact postoperative complications, including age, gender, bone graft incorporation, hemoglobin A1c, tobacco use, body mass index, peripheral neuropathy, hallux extensus, hallux interphalangeal arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, and compared them with the complication findings. Patient follow-up was no less than 24 months.


Overall, approximately two-thirds of the patients had no complications and 35.5% of patients had at least one mild or moderate complication. Of the non-union and mal-union complications, 80 and 70% had peripheral neuropathy, respectively. One hundred percent of the patients that had mal-positions or hardware failure also had peripheral neuropathy. No severe complications were seen during follow-up. Only two of the moderate complications needed revisions, and the rest of those with moderate complications were asymptomatic.


In conclusion, first MTPJ arthrodesis is overall an effective and beneficial procedure in patients with diabetes mellitus. Diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy have an increased risk for mild and moderate complications.


complications; diabetes mellitus; first metatarsophalangeal arthrodesis; peripheral neuropathy

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