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Foot Ankle Int. 2003 Apr;24(4):332-7.

First metatarsal-phalangeal joint arthrodesis: a biomechanical assessment of stability.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44309, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

First metatarsal phalangeal joint (MTP) arthrodesis is a commonly performed procedure for the treatment of hallux rigidus, severe and recurrent bunion deformities, rheumatoid arthritis and other less common disorders of the joint. There are different techniques of fixation of the joint to promote arthrodesis including oblique lag screw fixation, lag screw and dorsal plate fixation, crossed Kirschner wires, dorsal plate fixation alone and various types of external fixation. Ideally the fixation method should be reproducible, lead to a high rate of fusion, and have a low incidence of complications.

METHODS:

In the present study, we compared the strength of fixation of five commonly utilized techniques of first MTP joint arthrodesis. These were: 1. Surface excision with machined conical reaming and fixation with a 3.5 mm cortical interfragmentary lag screw. 2. Surface excision with machined conical reaming and fixation with crossed 0.062 Kirschner wires. 3. Surface excision with machined conical reaming and fixation with a 3.5 mm cortical lag screw and a four hole dorsal miniplate secured with 3.5 mm cortical screws. 4. Surface excision with machined conical reaming and fixation with a four hole dorsal miniplate secured with 3.5 mm cortical screws and no lag screw. 5. Planar surface excision and fixation with a single oblique 3.5 mm interfragmentary cortical lag screw. Testing was done on an Instron materials testing device loading the first MTP joint in dorsiflexion. Liquid metal strain gauges were placed over the joint and micromotion was detected with varying loads and cycles.

RESULTS:

The most stable technique was the combination of machined conical reaming and an oblique interfragmentary lag screw and dorsal plate. This was greater than two times stronger than an oblique lag screw alone. Dorsal plate alone and Kirschner wire fixation were the weakest techniques.

CONCLUSIONS:

First MTP fusion is a commonly performed procedure for the treatment of a variety of disorders of the first MTP joint. The most stable technique for obtaining fusion in this study was the combination of an oblique lag screw and a dorsal plate. This should lead to higher rates of arthrodesis.

PMID:
12735376
DOI:
10.1177/107110070302400405
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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