Strength of fixation constructs for basilar osteotomies of the first metatarsal

Foot Ankle. 1992 Nov-Dec;13(9):509-14. doi: 10.1177/107110079201300904.


Twenty-four pairs of fresh-frozen human feet had a proximal osteotomy of the first metatarsal that was fixed using either screws, staples, or K wires. Each metatarsal was excised and the specimen was loaded to failure in a cantilever beam configuration by applying a superiorly directed force to the metatarsal head using an MTS servohydraulic test machine. Specimens with a crescentic osteotomy that were fixed using a single screw demonstrated higher mean failure moments than pairs that were fixed with four staples or two K wires; staples were the weakest construct. All specimens fixed with staples failed by bending of the staples without bony fracture; all K wire constructs but one failed by wire bending. Chevron and crescentic osteotomies fixed with a single screw demonstrated equal bending strengths; the bending strength of an oblique osteotomy fixed with two screws was 82% greater than for a crescentic osteotomy fixed with a single screw. Basilar osteotomies of the first metatarsal are useful in correcting metatarsus primus varus often associated with hallux valgus pathology. Fixation strength is an important consideration since weightbearing forces on the head of the first metatarsal acting at a distance from the osteotomy site subject the construct to a dorsiflexion bending moment, as simulated in our tests. Our results show that screw fixation is the strongest method for stabilizing a basilar osteotomy. Based upon the relatively low bending strengths of the staple and K wire constructs, we would not recommend these forms of fixation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Screws
  • Bone Wires
  • Equipment Failure
  • Hallux Valgus / physiopathology
  • Hallux Valgus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Metatarsal Bones / physiopathology
  • Metatarsal Bones / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteotomy / instrumentation*
  • Surgical Staplers